January 30, 2008

Coast Guard: Oily Tar Balls Not Cosco Busan's


December 27, 2007

Vinnie's Odyssey: Trials and Tribulations of an Oiled Seagull


December 23, 2007

Audubon Oil Spill Update

Subject: Audubon oil spill update 

Bay Area Audubon  Chapter Leaders,

A brief report on the oil spill and Audubon,  what is happening and where we
go from here. First, a very big "thank you" to  all the efforts from
volunteers and our chapter network in responding with  passion and commitment to the
disaster that began November 7th. Here are a  sampling of the many ways our
chapters responded to the  emergency:

Golden Gate Audubon - Shoreline habitat was hit  hard in Golden Gate
Audubon's territories of San Francisco and Alameda counties.  Golden Gate Audubon
launched an immediate coordinated response to the spill,  sending out over 150
volunteers to identify oiled birds and wildlife in need of  rescue. Golden Gate
Audubon's efforts resulted in an estimated 1,500 oiled birds  reported to the
Oiled WildCare Network and other agencies. Of these birds, at  least 500 had
been washed and were on their way to  recovery.

Marin Audubon - They did a full assessment of their  properties, but
fortunately have not seen direct oil  impacts.

Ohlone Audubon - Evelyn Cormier (President) surveyed  Alameda Point on
November 10. Mark Taylor is patrolling the Hayward Shoreline  twice a day.
Information about the spill was disseminated at Ohlone's  birdwatching class on
November 13th. The chapter is encouraging members to  survey places off the beaten

Napa Solano Audubon -  Chapter leader and Audubon CA board member Jerry Karr
who recently retired from  a career that gave him direct experience with oil
transport and spill responses  in the bay is providing valuable information on
existing policies and  procedures.

Madrone Audubon - President Veronica Bowers is an  avian wildlife
rehabilitator for WildCare and Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. She  has been at IBRRC
almost everyday since November 8th doing intake, stabilization  and washing birds.

Santa Clara Valley, Mount Diablo, Napa  Solano and Sequoia - All referred
members to efforts in the North Bay and  extended offers of help.

Birders and Audubon members around  the Bay have been posting some of their
observations, as well as feedback from  the wildlife rehab agencies back to
local birding  listserves.

For Audubon California ground zero for the spill  was the Richardson Bay
Center. Brooke Langston and her team, helped by dozens of  volunteers from the
community, chapters and Audubon staff responded  magnificently--working long
hours to help organize the community, attend to  oiled birds and serve as a focal
point for local cleanup. The RBAC crew  collected some of the very best data
on water quality and bird impacts turned in  after the spill and it is
providing value not only to us but to the agencies  that are charged with measuring
the spill's impacts. Great work  team!

We have a short powerpoint slide program roughly two  megs in size with maps
and photos that we can forward if you wish. Due to its  size it's not included
in this message but is available if your internet  connection can accommodate
larger files.

Where we go from  here:

Numerous hearings at the state and federal level have  been held and more are
on the way. We are participating in these hearings. When  the State
Legislature returns in January both the Assembly Natural Resources  Committee and the
Senate Natural Resources Committee will be introducing bill  packages dealing
with all aspects of the spill and we will be actively working  to review the
bills and supporting those which we believe will be serve  Audubon's interest in
bird and wetlands protection and restoration in the Bay  and elsewhere.
Preventing spills will be our highest priority but because future  spills are
likely to happen we will be looking closely at response and  readiness.

Among the key lessons from this incident were how  poorly the lead agencies
performed in 1) notifying first responders; 2)  coordinating with local agency
resources; and 3) making constructive uses of the  outpouring of volunteer
efforts in the wake of the spill. A legislative idea  that's under consideration
is finding better methods to enlist the help of  volunteers. With our Bay
chapter network, active members and the presence of  Richardson Bay Center and
Sanctuary we are an ideal partner to help train and  organize the public for the
next time something like this happens. We will be  paying particular attention
to this and will keep you informed on it and all  matters involving new spill
prevention and recovery  policies.

Government agency expectations for oil spill  cleanup are distressingly low
(the 28% of oil recovered was seen as the mark of  a highly successful effort).
This needs to be improved through better readiness  and engaging new
techologies to make sure more oil is actually removed as  quickly as possible.

We are also monitoring the Natural  Resource Damage Assessment process now
well underway that will capture in  measurable terms the damage to natural
values, fishing and other recreational  uses resulting from the spill. This
assessment is crucial to seeking restitution  for the damages done to our ecosystem
and economy.

The spill  was both a disaster and a wake up call warning all of us to remain
diligent to  the persistent risks the Bay environment faces from development
and every day  commerce, and to be better prepared in responding to disasters.
Restoration of  our Bay wetlands resources will bolster resiliency to the
impacts of future  spills. While future spills will no doubt occur, perhaps at a
magnitude well  beyond that experienced by the Cosco Busan incident, it is
imperative to call  for not only faster and more comprehensive response, but much
greater  preventative measures as well. It is incumbent on us to make sure
the recovery  from this spill and better efforts to both avoid and remedy future
spills does  not fade from the public view. Toward that end we are planning
several upcoming  activities to keep the spill in the news. More on that 

Thanks for everything you all have done and will  continue to do to keep the
Bay safe. Please feel free to call or email us for  more information/comments
on the issue and how we should be responding. We very  much value your input.

Best wishes for the  Holidays


Dan Taylor
Audubon  California
Director of Public Policy
765 University  Avenue
Sacramento, CA  95825

December 02, 2007

Audubon: Oil Spill Kills Thousands of Birds

On Wednesday November 7, 2007 the Cosco Busan container ship sideswiped one of the western anchorages of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The ship leaked bunker fuel oil after a gash was discovered in its portside. The 810-foot vessel was headed out of Oakland and bound for South Korea when it hit the bridge in heavy fog around 8:30 a.m. The bridge did not suffer significant damage and traffic continued to flow on the span.

The spill was an ecological disaster, with 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil spilling into the Bay, coating birds and other wildlife. As of November 28, more than 1,761 oiled birds arrived live at the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia. A total of 783 were washed of oil. Read IBRRC's BIRD BLOG

More than 314 cleaned birds have been released back into the wild. Birds are being set free at Heart's Desire Beach in Tomales Bay; at Point Reyes National Seashore about 40 miles north of San Francisco; and also at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, 25 miles south of San Francisco. At least 1,700 dead birds have been collected in the field.

Following the spill, many oiled birds were collected on the Bay and on beaches stretching north up to Marin County and south along Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Surf scoters, scaups, and grebes seem to be the most affected by this spill. Also, two raccoons were found dead.

During the spill, the Coast Guard closed 30 beaches: Ocean Beach, Angel Island, Crissy Field, Kirby Cove, Black Sand Beach, Rodeo Beach, Fort Point, Muir Beach, Fort Baker, China Beach, Tennessee Valley, Keller Beach, Point Isabel, Ferry Point, Cesar Chavez Beach, Middle Harbor and Shimada Park. Some of the beaches have reopened.

Bunker fuel spills are extremely toxic to marine life, especially birds that float and feed through a spill. The oil inhibits the birds' ability to thermoregulate and they become cold as the natural insulation in their feathers breaks down. The birds spend most of their time trying to preen the oil out of their feathers and thus ingest the oil. Weakened, they will often beach themselves and fall prey to predators or die from the toxic effects of the oil. HOW OIL AFFECTS BIRDS   

The San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the West Coast. The oil on the bay at this time is still putting in danger the tens of thousands of birds on migration that arrive annually in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, oil can persist in the environment long-term and can continue to impact what birds forage on, which long-term will continue to impact the birds by reduced food availability or toxicity of bird food sources.

It will be interesting to see if our Christmas Counts for water birds will be affected by the oil spill.  Will our duck and shore bird populations show an impact from the oil spill?

November 27, 2007

Thank You, Oil Spotters

A BIG thank you to all of the Oil Spotters over the Thanksgiving weekend from me, Captain Realyvasquez, and the City of Pacifica. Thanks to you, each of the Pacifica beaches was monitored daily from Thanksgiving through Sunday. For a while longer, they will continue to be monitored by the Public Works Dept. There were small instances of oil or tar balls reported two or three of the four days on Linda Mar beach and Sharp Park beach. Rockaway had one instance on one day and no other reports.  Esplanade had no reports of oil. Two to three dead birds were reported on each day from the beaches combined. They were scattered on each of the beaches. Few of the birds had outward evidence of oil. Sharp Park, Rockaway, and Linda Mar each had oil sightings, although they were very minor, unlike the week before when the Haz Mat Teams cleaned all of Pacifica's beaches both Sunday and Monday (November 20-21). See photos below.

Pacifica Beach Coalition




November 24, 2007

Ranger Nelle Reports Oil on Coastside Beaches

We are feeling more effects of the oil spill on the Coastside. On Sunday (11/18)  tar balls were found on Montara State Beach. On Monday (11/19) tar balls were found at Miramar (Surfers Beach), at Roosevelt and a few at Francis Beach. Most of the tar balls are small, like half the size of a dime up to the size of a quarter. I found one piece this morning (Tuesday) the size of the palm of my hand, but that is not typical.  I've also found feathers on the beach that are covered in sticky oil and sea grass and sea lettuce with sticky oil on them.

A cleanup crew was out for a short time today, but they were reassigned to another location before they finished covering all of our beach at Francis. They only made it from the Francis Day Use lot to about mid B. Over the next few days if you are out on the beaches, please be on the look out for tar balls, oily feathers, oily seaweed and oiled birds. If you see any of these please contact the park office and speak to someone (not just a voice mail). Paul Keel will be here Wednesday so you can call his office at (650)726-8817. If you cannot reach Paul, please call the Francis Entrance Station and ask them to contact a ranger on the radio to notify them of what you have found. Please record the date, time and location of your find.

We need details of exactly where you are seeing oil, tar balls or oiled birds. Please be specific about landmarks using the access points like the boardwalk and parking lots or bathrooms. If you are finding tar balls or oil, please specify the size of them and if you have several please specify how many per yard or how many feet apart they are. For example, I found dime-size tar balls, approximately one every 30 feet from the boardwalk at Francis Beach to the bathroom at the south Venice lot and a total of 20 tar balls.

If you see a snowy plover with any sign of oil on its feathers or feet, etc. please report it immediately to Paul Keel or another ranger. If you find live, oiled birds on the beach please call those in here to the office, too, right away. You can call the Oiled Bird number, but it seems that not all of the birds that have been reported have been picked up. Our staff and the Peninsula Humane Society know the landmarks around here pretty well and it is better to report live birds through State Parks and PHS. We may not be able to capture some of the birds that are too lively. I was not able to catch an oiled scoter at Montara Beach that one of our volunteers, Sue, reported to me because it turned out to be more lively than I thought it was. I also heard that PHS was not able to get all of the birds they saw, even with nets, but we will try to do our best. On the other hand there was a weak bird at Francis Beach that another volunteer, Sofia, reported via the oiled bird phone number that I don't think anyone made it out to.

If you want to also report to the oil spill reporting and oiled bird reporting numbers, that would be great, but let them know what other agency you have reported to. On Thursday last week when we conducted the bird surveys we only saw snowy plovers at Francis Beach - there were 61 reported there. None were seen at Tunitas Creek (but there was a Merlin observed there) and none were seen at Gazos Creek. Rita went to Linda Mar in Pacifica two days later when the beach was reopened and found 20 snowy plovers there, one of which had a small oil smudge on its breast.

Thank you everyone for your concern and assistance. PLEASE record all of your hours related to oil spill work, surveys or otherwise on the "Other" line and write in OIL SPILL. We want to be able to total all the volunteer hours spent surveying beaches for oil or oiled birds. If you recorded it in another category, please change it when you get a chance. PLEASE record all of the hours you are focusing on this so we can report it properly. This is REALLY important!

Thank you again,

Nelle Lyons

Oil Spill Hurts Surf Scoter (Diving Duck)



The Blob: Oil on Pacifica Beach


Pacifica Beach Coalition volunteers are surveying local beaches this weekend, while city/county workers are on vacation. It is expected that oil from the spill will wash up from time to time, depending on currents and storm patterns. On Thanksgiving Day, no oil was found on Rockaway Beach. An oil-soaked log was found on Linda Mar Beach, and it was reported to the authorities. If you spot oil on the beach or on birds or other animals, report it to the Pacifica Police at 650-738-7314. They call it in to the county hotline. If you would like to help the Pacifica Beach Coalition in this important effort to keep our beaches clean and open, email Lynn Adams at: Lynn4promos@aol.com or call 415-309-5856

November 21, 2007

Siren Call: Pacifica Beaches Need You Now

HELP MONITOR PACIFICA BEACHES (not to pick up oil or oiled wildlife)

Walk the beach, look for oil, tar balls, and birds (dead or oiled), and report all instances to the Pacifica Police at 738-7314, who call it in to the 415-701-2311 hotline. Please also flash me an email or voicemail 355-1668 about these instances. HazMat Training should be completed and hopefully you have picked up your card and taken the oath at the Pacifica Police station on Highway 1 north of Reina del Mar.

Beaches need monitoring (you can sign up for one or more beaches). When possible, I will try to team you up with other volunteers so you do not have to do this alone. You can go to just one or more beaches,whatever works for you: Linda Mar, Rockaway, Sharp Park, Esplanade. Optional: Mussel Rock and South Esplanade (by the recycle  yard). To sign up: Email Lynn4promos@aol.com  or call 415-309-5856.

This is very easy. Simply walk along the high-tide mark and look at the debris and sand for dark sticky stuff. I found black pitch on seaweed, feathers, sticks, and in tar balls last Sunday. We are not to pick up any of it, just simply observe what you see, how much you see, and report it along with the location of each wildlife instance to the Pacifica Police at 650-738-7314, who will call it in to the command center and get a HazMat team to Pacifica to remove the toxic substances. Thanks to those of you who have already called or emailed to walk a beach. There are still some slots open. If you will be around and can walk a beach to look for oil and wildlife, it would be very helpful.

Lynn Adams
Pacifica Beach Coalition

November 20, 2007

Health Advisory: High Tides May Bring Oil Onshore

Health Advisory for Visitors to San Mateo County Beaches

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Experts are anticipating that this week’s seasonally high tides may sweep more tar balls onto our shores in places where they have not been found previously. The combination of sunny weather and a holiday will likely entice many visitors to San Mateo County beaches. The San Mateo County Health Department's Division of Environmental Health (SMCDEH) is reviewing human health impacts from the November 8, 2007, oil spill in the San Francisco Bay and does not anticipate any future beach closures as a result of the spill.

After consulting with numerous experts, and state, federal and local agencies, SMCDEH considers the risk to human health to be low, particularly at this time. Potential adverse health effects from exposure to the oil depend on the type of exposure — skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation. Risks are greatest to workers heavily exposed to oil during some cleanup activities, but even these risks are considered to be low.With appropriate training and personal protective equipment, as required by law, cleanup activities can continue and workers can be confident that their health will not be affected. For persons who are not frequently exposed to oil the risk is insignificant. Direct contact with oil for long periods of time may cause some people to develop a skin rash.
SMCDEH offers the following tips to beachgoers:
·        Avoid direct skin contact with the oil.
·        If you get oil or tar balls on your skin, wash it off with soap and water.
·        Take precautions, such as washing your hands before eating, so you don't accidentally swallow the oil.
·        If you get oil on clothing, wash it in the usual way.
·        There is no need to use harsh detergents, solvents or other chemicals to wash oil from skin or clothing and the use of such materials are discouraged.
·        Don't burn trash or driftwood contaminated with oil.

If you have any concerns about your health, it is recommended that you contact your personal physician. Check for updates at COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

Oily Bird: This Is No Joke


This may surprise you. Look at this photo of an oiled Surf Scoter: OILY BIRD.

If you see an oiled bird or oiled animal in the South Bay, please contact San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory at 408-946-6548 x10 or email biologist Caitlin Robinson at crobinson@sfbbo.org. For oiled wildlife or piled waterways anywhere in the Bay Area, call the Oiled Wildlife Hotline at 877-823-6926.

For more updates on the spill, visit SF GATE/SF CHRONICLE

For information on volunteering to help rehabilitate birds, visit OILED WILDLIFE CARE NETWORK.


November 19, 2007

Tar Balls: Visualize Them on Beaches, Surfboards, Feet, Dogs, Seagulls


Lynn Adams of Pacifica Beach Coalition shared this email from her contact at the county health department, who has been combing area beaches for signs of the big oil spill two weeks ago: "I went back to Linda Mar after being called to Fitzgerald for more tar balls. I noticed in the surf zone several pinhead-size tar balls, The O'Brien's Group is scheduled to comb Pacifica beaches again today at noon. I am also working on advice for the public on what to do if they get oil on their feet, hands, etc. I hope to get it approved by my Health Officer before the Thanksgiving weekend."

As an old Isla Vistan (Santa Barbarian), I had a flashback to our tarry beaches (natural seepage from offshore). Everybody down south who used the beaches had a can of gasoline, turpentine, or paint remover on the front porch to get the goo off their feet, but still the black stuff wound up on surfboards and shower stalls all over town.

Get Oil Out (GOO), Santa Barbara 1969! Never forget!


Pacifica Beaches Open, but Keep Your Eye Out for Oil

Oil has been reported at Shelter Cove, Linda Mar, Rockaway, and Sharp Park. Three dead birds were collected from Linda Mar. Congressman Tom Lantos spoke in Pacifica and heard from many about our concerns with the federal response to the oil disaster. Lantos wants to hear from you!

HazMat crews have been dispatched to Linda Mar beach, Rockaway, Sharp Park, and Shelter Cove. I have walked all of the beaches several times. The oil I found was in little tar balls the size of quarters or less or attached to debris (e.g., seaweed, feathers, bottle caps, wood, plastic pieces). I found three dead birds at Sharp Park and one dead bird at Esplanade. There was very little, if any, oil at Esplanade. All birds were called in to the Pacifica Police and recovered by Fish and Game or the HazMat crew. 

Council Member Jim Vreeland has been working at the Oil Spill Command Center in Treasure Island and looking out for Pacifica. I am certain that he is responsible for the quick response of the HazMat team to Pacifica this morning. Captain Fernando Realyvasquez is in charge of the Pacifica Emergency Operations. He has worked tirelessly to coordinate services in Pacifica. 

The County of San Mateo Public Health Director walked the beaches of Pacifica, too. He informed me that volunteers will not be used to clean any beaches in San Mateo County until HazMat teams are unavailable or unable to keep up with the work needed. The Cosco Busan ship company is responsible for the cleanup expenses of these teams, while San Mateo County is responsible for providing staff to direct volunteers (go figure—this is not exactly okay with me).  He expects volunteers will be needed and used for months following the cleanup efforts.

What can you do? Walk the beaches, look for oil, tar balls, and birds (dead or oiled) and report all instances to the Pacifica Police at 738-7314, who call it in to the 415-701-2311 hotline. Please also flash me an email or voicemail at 650-355-1668 about  these instances and I will follow up to make sure action is taken to correct  them. When at an open beach and oil or oiled wildlife are spotted, contact the Unified Command at 877-823-6926. Do not attempt to capture oiled  wildlife, remove oiled materials, or clean up the oil because you may further  injure the wildlife and place yourself at risk. Check with local, state and national officials, write  letters, demand better systems using our local resources to respond  to emergencies.

Walk the beaches and pick up litter. The very high tides and recent rains that flushed the storm drains have brought  lots of bottle caps and plastic to our beaches. Fire rings at Esplanade  are filled with nails and broken glass. Litter kills birds and  wildlife. Walk the streets and pick up litter. Preventing litter from washing down the gutters to the storm drains can save fish, birds  and marine life for decades. Plastics are also made of petroleum and they kill fish and birds!

Check with San Francisco, Marin, and Alameda counties for volunteer  opportunities. Join Pacifica Beach Coalition to advocate for a  better response system and be part of a plan to manage  the oil that we expect to surface on our beaches for months and possibly years. Help educate the public about beach stewardship, organize Earth Day and Coastal Cleanup Days, adopt a beach, street or location  of importance to you, or even work toward policy changes in  Pacifica, California, and U.S. to minimize styrofoam, plastic bags,  and other environmental hazards. The Beach Coalition is a group committed to protecting wildlife and stewarding our beautiful  coastline. Ending litter in Pacifica is a goal because litter in the  ocean and on our beaches kills wildlife. Be a part of the solution. WE NEED YOU and YOUR TALENTS!

For news, pictures, updates, and other postings, check PACIFICA RIPTIDE and OIL SPILL NEWS.   

Register with ALERTS. San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services is asking all interested volunteers to  register and select the Coastside and/or Bayside CERT Groups.

San Mateo County has opened an oil spill  volunteer hotline with a recorded message announcing upcoming training  opportunities. The hotline number is (650) 363-4099.

For beach closures, hotlines and websites go to: UPDATES

Lynn Adams
Pacifica Beach Coalition

November 17, 2007

Oil Spill: Mavericks, Surfrider, Zuna Surf, Jeff Clark Surfboards

Several oiled birds have been spotted on both the north and south sides of Pacifica. This is the best info I have found for what we can do as reported by a Mavericks surf site. See the links from Surfrider and Zuna Surf. Thank you for your help to save wildlife and respond to this crisis.

Lynn Adams
Pacifica Beach Coalition
From: The Mavericks Surf Contest
Subject: Calling ALL capable hands. Help us clean up the oil spill.

Click here for info: MAVERICKS SURF. As you may already know, just days ago nearly 60,000 gallons of oil were spilled into the waters of the San Francisco Bay near such hallowed landmarks as Fort Point, Alcatraz, and Ocean Beach.We urge all of you who are local to do what you can immediately to help minimize the effects of such a disastrous occurrence. Mission control is The Sports Basement's Presidio location (610 Mason Street, 415-437-0100, by Crissy Field). For more information, please see the information our friends at ZUNA SURF have put together. Additionally, up-to-the-minute details can be found at San Francisco SURFRIDER. And, of course, we'll keep you posted: JEFF CLARK SURFBOARDS, MAVERICKS SURF SHOP 

Oil Spill Updates: Beaches, Rescues, Cleanups


Cosco Busan Spill Response Joint Command
Contact: Joint Information Center
(510) 772-8865, (510) 846-1307
Responsible Party (713) 622-8818

When at an open beach and oil or oiled wildlife are spotted, contact the Unified Command at (877) 823-6926. Do not attempt to capture oiled wildlife, remove oiled materials, or clean up the oil because you may further injury the wildlife and place yourself at risk.


TO REPORT OIL SIGHTINGS, CALL 985-781-0804         


Pacifica Beaches Reopen, Other Beaches Still Need Cleanup

If you have your certificate, you can join any volunteer opportunity in the Bay Area. Pacifica does not have volunteer opportunities. If you attended the Pacifica volunteer training on Tuesday, you can go to Ocean Beach without the certificate. They now have the master list and can accept your help if you show them your license or ID card. San Mateo County has opened an oil spill volunteer hotline with a recorded message announcing upcoming training opportunities. The hotline number is (650) 363-4099. For beach closures, hotlines, and websites go to: BEACH CLOSINGS AND OPENINGS

Volunteer deployment for beach cleanup efforts in San Francisco: The City and County of San Francisco will continue to coordinate deployment of certified volunteers at the staging area at Lincoln and the Great Highway. Look for the RED TENT in the parking lot. Volunteers will be provided with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), collection tools and be assigned to a trained safety officer. Employees will lead teams of volunteers in the cleanup effort at Ocean Beach.    ALL CERTIFIED VOLUNTEERS SHOULD REPORT TO THE RED TENT at Lincoln and the Great Highway. Additional plans for cleanup operations are pending for Crissy Field, Baker Beach, and Aquatic Park, but volunteers should continue to report to the main staging area. Transportation from this staging area to the other volunteer cleanup sites will be provided.

For information on additional volunteer opportunities to support the oil spill response efforts, please visit VOLUNTEER CENTER

Summary report from the State Office of Emergency Services: Reported as of 6:30 p.m. on November 14: 14,974 gallons of oil have been collected. It is estimated that 4,060 gallons of oil have evaporated. One vessel is currently skimming/collecting oil on the water and 25 support vessels and volunteer fishing vessels are working to remediate the spill. Three helicopters are surveying the area. The US Coast Guard reports that there are currently 1,517 people participating in the spill response. According to the oil and wildlife care network, 804 live birds and 590 dead birds have been received in their facilities.

In San Francisco, we’re supplementing the beach cleanup work of professional contractors with trained volunteers. We’re proud to report that approximately 800 volunteers have attended trainings and have been issued a disaster service worker badge from the City’s Department of Human Resources. Since November 11, trained volunteers have been deployed to Ocean Beach, where the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has established a check-in site and provided safety monitors. Volunteers are assisting with beach cleanup, wildlife and habitat preservation, and other activities related to the oil spill.

Lynn Adams
Pacifica Beach Coalition

Ho Hum, Just Another Beautiful Day at the Beach?


(Mary Sheppard photo)

Our beaches are open again. Let's help other areas clean up. And join Pacifica Beach Coalition in its ongoing efforts to protect and preserve our local natural resource: BEACH COALITION

(Remember GOO, Get Oil Out! Santa Barbara, 1969)

Mavericks Surf Report on Oil Spill (Updated)

As many of you know, the Cosco-Busan oil spill that originated in San Francisco last Wednesday, November 7 has also moved south. Oil had gotten as far as Pacifica, and beaches there were closed for several days but reopened November 16. Based on wind conditions and currents, it is possible that oil could reach the Mavericks area at some point. At this point, there is no impact on the 2007/2008 Mavericks Surf Contest, as the window is not slated to open until December 7. We hold the health and safety of the surfers and rescue personnel in the highest regard, and will work closely with San Mateo County to assess all relevant conditions before calling a Contest.In the meantime, we would like to pass along critical information regarding coastal cleanup operations, and we encourage everyone who is able to help with these efforts to do so.   

To take part in any cleanup efforts, you must be at least 18 years of age and must attend a 4-hour Disaster Service Training session. There you will learn safe handling, collection, and cleanup of oil; proper use of personal protective equipment; and personal safety procedures. At the conclusion of the session, you will be given a credential to demonstrate successful completion of the required training, and at that point you will be qualified to assist with official cleanup efforts. While there is no need for volunteer efforts in San Mateo County at this time, there is still need for assistance in those North and East Bay areas that have been impacted.

To stay up-to-date on the latest information including beach closures and cleanup efforts, please visit SAN MATEO COUNTY INFO  and click the link "Oil Spill Impact on San Mateo County Coastline - Click Here." In addition, Park Ranger Sarah Lenz from the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (Pillar Point Marsh to Moss Beach) is asking for volunteers to meet at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 20, to help rake the wrack line up above the high tide level. No prior training is needed to participate in this effort, but you will need to bring work gloves and boots. Please call the Reserve at 650-728-3584 for further details.

Last, a grassroots volunteer organization called KILL THE SPILL has been set up to gather, organize, and mobilize a growing army of volunteers to address the oil spill. We are very proud of the efforts of so many environmentally concerned citizens, many of whom are members of the Mavericks family, to aggressively address the impact of the spill. Thank you for the inspiration.

Mavericks Surf Ventures Eco-Manager Joao De Macedo has gone through the volunteer certification process through the City and County of San Francisco. He is available to answer any questions on the process at joao@maverickssurf.com.

November 16, 2007

Get Bunker Oil Out of the Bay


November 15, 2007

Oil Spill: Pacifica Riptide Gathers the News


Due to the magnitude of the San Francisco Bay oil spill and its impact on our local beaches and birds, we have created a special category in our right sidebar called Oil Spill, comprising all stories and pictures that we have posted on the spill so far, and any new ones that come in during this crisis. Click Oil Spill for updates on cleanup efforts, volunteer training classes, investigations and follow-ups, and other news of this environmental disaster. Please forward the OIL SPILL link to anyone you know who needs to catch up on what's been happening out here on the coast or who wants to get involved in helping to clean up the mess on the beaches. Thanks.

Editor and Publisher
Pacifica Riptide

Point Reyes Bird Observatory: Oil Spill

PRBO biologists are actively engaged with many partners in addressing the Cosco Busan accident that spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker oil in SF Bay on Wednesday November 7, 2007. As you know, the San Francisco Bay and the central coast of California are vitally important wintering areas for vast numbers of birds as well as major commercial fisheries. The timing of the oil spill is therefore having great impacts.

The number of oiled birds collected during a spill is actually an underestimation of the true numbers impacted. In many spills, the observed mortality is actually only 5-10% of true mortality as many carcasses are never recovered (they may sink, wash out to see, end up on inaccessible beaches where they are not found, or are removed by scavengers).

Most of the impacted species are seabirds and seaducks that use the bays, estuaries, and nearshore marine environment for foraging, as well as shorebirds that forage along sandy or rocky beaches.
The most common species documented so far from the Cosco Busan spill have been Surf Scoters and Eared Grebes. Other common species include Common Murres, Western Grebes, Clark's Grebes, Horned Grebes, Ruddy Ducks, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, White-winged Scoters and Common Loons. Numerous other species have also been oiled.

We cannot predict the amount of damage to seabird populations this spill will have at this point; Predictive modeling as well as long-term monitoring will be required to truly understand the impacts. Our long-term monitoring projects at the Farallon Islands and Alcatraz will be critical components of this.

Direct mortality from oiling is often due to one of three things: hypothermia (the oil interferes with the waterproofing of their feathers and allows their skin to come in contact with the cold water)
starvation (birds beach themselves to avoid the hypothermia and therefore can't forage; or they preen so obsessively to try to remove the oil that they do not spend any time doing anything else, including foraging; and toxicity of ingestion of oil during preening.

Direct mortality can result in declines in population sizes even over the long-term. This is further influenced by the age and sex composition of the birds killed in the oil spill (e.g., if mostly adults winter in an area where a spill occurs, the long-term impacts will be much greater to the breeding populations, as mortality is already naturally quite high in young birds). For populations that are already much imperiled and have a small distribution, oil spills actually have the potential to extirpate species, subspecies, or populations.

Birds that have been through oiling events can have reduced reproductive success; this can then further impact the population long-term. Oil spills can lower survival rates in birds that survive the spill event. If oil kills the food or prey items on which birds forage, this can result in long-term effects. Oil can persist in the environment long-term and continue to impact what birds forage on, which will continue to impact the birds as well by reduced food availability or toxicity of food sources.

We have about 20 PRBO staff scientists working on the spill with funds for only 8 through the Wildlife Processing Unit of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network in Cordelia. Fortunately, we just found out today that we will be receiving an emergency grant of $30,000 from the San Francisco Foundation to help us in our efforts not funded by the state, including: conducting beach, lagoon and wetlands monitoring and surveys of oiled birds, and training others to do so; conducting island-based surveys of oiled birds (Alcatraz, Farallones and Ano Nuevo) and developing communications for more effective public outreach on spill related issues.

More than double that is needed and your support would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made online at HELP PRBO (select “PRBO general support” then click link below to earmark your donation for PRBO’s SF Bay Oil Spill Fund). 

Ellie M. Cohen
Executive Director
PRBO Conservation Science
3820 Cypress Dr. #11
Petaluma, CA 94954
707-781-2555 ext 318

HazMat High: Notes from a Beach Cleanup Training

A man who attended the training in Pacifica on Tuesday took notes and summarized the HazMat training: ONE MAN'S HAZMAT JOURNEY. This is by no means in place of getting the training.  Without the training, you will not be able to go on the beaches to work with the oil spill legally. Everyone should also know the harms of the toxicity, which is why we thought this info might be valuable.

Lynn Adams
Pacifica Beach Coalition

Kill the Spill: EPA Beach Cleanup and Bird Rescue


November 14, 2007

Oiled Beach and Bird Rescue Training and Alerts

San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services is asking all interested volunteers to register at EMERGENCY ALERTS  and select Coastside and/or Bayside CERT Groups.

We have been advised that it is mandatory that volunteers attend this 4-hour training session in order to be allowed onto and help clean up the beaches. Trampling of the oil into the sand in a disorganized effort will push the oil balls deeper into the sand making it harder to clean up in the long run as more material will need to be removed. At present volunteers who received the training yesterday in Pacifica are waiting for the call for deployment. We have been told it is currently in the hands of the O'Brian group, the paid contractors hired by the "Responsible Party" to clean up the oil spill. The City of Pacifica will announce how to get your training card as soon as the final details have been worked out. 

San Mateo County has opened an oil spill volunteer hotline with a recorded message announcing upcoming training opportunities. The hotline number is (650) 363-4099.

For beach closures, hotlines and websites go to: BEACH CLEANUP INFO

Thank you,

Lynn Adams
Pacifica Beach Coalition

Hair, Mushrooms Used to Sop Up Oil

A group of guerrilla volunteers is cleaning oil from San Francisco's beaches using an unorthodox, albeit totally organic, method: human hair and mushrooms. Using mats made of hair, they are absorbing the droplets of oil that have washed ashore since a cargo ship rammed the base of a Bay Bridge tower last week, spilling 58,000 gallons of fuel. Hair, which naturally absorbs oil from air and water, acts as a perfect sponge, said Lisa Gautier of San Francisco, who provided 1,000 hair mats. They are about the size of a doormat, tightly woven with dark hair, and feel somewhat like an S.O.S pad.

While the mats may not be the obvious choice among hazardous waste experts, they hit San Francisco's green chord: More than 700 volunteers have tried them in recent days. Organizers hope their success will inspire more ecological responses to toxic waste removal. Gautier had 1,000 of them on hand because she runs a nonprofit, Matter of Trust, which matches donations from businesses with needy nonprofits. She collects human hair from Bay Area salons and sends it to Georgia to be woven into mats, which she then gives to the San Francisco Department of
the Environment to absorb used motor oil.
Once the mats are soaked with black gunk, oyster mushrooms will take over, growing on the mats and absorbing the oil. National mushroom expert Paul Stamets was in town the weekend after the spill for the Green Festival, heard of Gautier's work and donated $10,000 worth of oyster mushrooms to harvest on the oily hair mats. Gautier said the mushrooms will absorb the oil within 12 weeks, Gautier said, turning the hair mats into nontoxic compost. "You make it like a lasagna," Gautier said. "You layer the oily hair mats with mushrooms and straw, turn it in six weeks, and by 12 weeks you have good soil." The soil may not be good enough to grow carrots but is certainly good enough to use for landscaping along roads, she said.
The Environmental Protection Agency caught wind of the hair brigade and is giving the volunteers four-hour classes to certify them to clean up oil, Gautier said. Cole Hardware provided discount white Tyvex protection suits, and city workers from the Department of the Environment pitched in the 800 hair mats they had on hand. On Tuesday, volunteers used the mats and white plastic forks to gingerly lift tiny oil blobs from the sand at Ocean Beach. "It's interesting how when we are challenged, we become more inventive," said volunteer David Hirtz, who lives nearby and is a member of the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team run through the San Francisco Fire Department. "Instead of yelling and complaining and blaming, you are doing something about it," he said.

By Tuesday afternoon, piles of garbage bags full of the used hair mats were sitting on Ocean Beach. Gautier says they will be placed in bins until she can locate a place to make one huge pile and sprinkle in the mushrooms. She's tried to contact people from the O'Brien's Group, hired by the ship owner to do cleanup with skimmers, to ask them to take the pile, but so far hasn't gotten a response. The Coast Guard, which in the first days after the spill turned hundreds of volunteers away from the beaches due to safety concerns, was not delighted when informed of the latest eco-volunteer effort. "I live in San Francisco, too, and I understand wanting to clean the beach in a way that's good for the environment, but this stuff is toxic, and people who are not trained shouldn't touch it," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Mariana O'Leary.

Gautier said nearly all the people using hair mats have since been trained. Even so, she ran out of hair mats Tuesday. She's been talking with a company in China that makes industrial-sized hair mats about getting more shipped to San Francisco. Gautier said she can even have large sea booms made by stuffing hair into nylon stockings. "This can completely revolutionize oil spill cleanup," she said, reaching down with a mat to soak up a glob on Ocean Beach. Two barefoot joggers passed by. "That's amazing," Gautier said. "Haven't they heard it's dangerous out here?"


Email reporter Meredith May at mmay@sfchronicle.com. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2007 SF Chronicle

Schwarzenegger Blamed in Oil Spill

By Kevin Yamamura and Matt Weiser, kyamamura@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, November 13, 2007

As oil spill cleanup continued Monday on the San Francisco Bay, state Senate Leader Don Perata rebuked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for undermining the state agency charged with spill response. Perata, D-Oakland, seized upon a 2005 state audit that determined the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, or OSPR, was understaffed despite having a funding surplus. He said the situation has hindered the agency's ability to deter oil spills in advance and react quickly when disasters arise.

"The tragedy we're seeing in the San Francisco Bay right now is the price we pay when the governor lets critical jobs stand empty - and lets polluters off the hook," Perata said in a statement. Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear disputed that charge. He said Schwarzenegger has added $7.3 million and 9.2 positions to OSPR since 2003. "If Senator Perata can identify ways in which the state response could have been better or was lacking in any way, we'd like to hear those suggestions," McLear said. "This is the first we've heard of concerns that OSPR was not executing exactly how it needed to in response to this oil spill."

The spill occurred after the container ship Cosco Busan struck the Bay Bridge on Wednesday and leaked 58,000 gallons of oil, closing beaches and killing seabirds. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, questioned the California head of the U.S. Coast Guard about his agency's response in a visit Monday to the San Francisco Bay. The Coast Guard is leading the spill response with assistance from OSPR. Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency to free up resources last week.

The 2005 Department of Finance audit was highly critical of the administration and the Department of Fish and Game, which oversees OSPR. At the time, the spill agency was sitting on $18 million generated by a special fund that charges 5 cents on every barrel of oil sold in the state, money that should have been used, according to the audit, to hire staff to police the shipping industry and cleanup companies to ensure a rapid response to spills.

There are more than 7,400 cargo ships that visit state waters. All are required to have spill cleanup plans approved by the state, and most contract with one of eight cleanup companies to handle any spills. These companies also must be licensed by the state. OSPR is authorized by law to conduct surprise annual inspections on the shippers and the cleanup companies. But Ted Mar, chief of the marine safety branch at OSPR, told The Bee that his agency inspects less than 1 percent of the cargo ships each year, and has never conducted surprise annual inspections of the cleanup companies. Instead, inspections typically occur only when a license is renewed, which is every three years for cleanup companies and every five years for shippers.

Surprise inspections are vital to ensure that cleanup companies can rapidly muster the personnel and equipment necessary to contain an oil spill, said Linda Sheehan, a Senate appointee to a technical committee that advises OSPR. These companies are expected to respond first to any oil spill, not the Coast Guard or Fish and Game. Sheehan said that, ironically, Schwarzenegger's Department of Finance refused to hire more spill prevention staff, even though it also wrote the audit that uncovered that problem. "For some reason, the state has held back on allocating the staff that's needed even though there's funding there to do that," said Sheehan, who is also executive director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance. "So in fact, it's never been adequately staffed."

The audit also found that OSPR was unable to provide reliable information on spills and spill response due to poor data collection. Its failure to allocate enough resources to this analysis, the audit states, restricts the agency's ability to accurately assess oil spill trends and causes. More recently, some hiring has been authorized for the program. In the 2007-2008 budget year, the administration authorized $843,000 and 6.6 new positions to improve oversight of cleanup contractors. Another $415,000 and 1.9 new positions were allocated to improve mapping of sensitive habitats and infrastructure that could be damaged by spills.

Another member of the OSPR technical committee, Gary Gregory, acknowledged the department has been understaffed, but said the latest budget allocations should correct that. "I think the programs are fully funded," said Gregory, chief of the marine facilities division at the State Lands Commission, which shares the fund to prevent spills at shore-based facilities. "There is a surplus in (the fund) today, but at current funding levels, that surplus will be gone in just a few years."

Perata also criticized Schwarzenegger on Monday for vetoing Senate Bill 1001 last month. The measure would have reduced the size of water quality boards while adding new requirements intended to make the state's nine regional panels more effective. The governor, in his veto message, said he believed the bill would not accomplish its stated goals. Perata said the Republican governor has undermined the latest spill response by failing to fill positions on the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Board, which now has four sitting members in nine seats. The board cannot meet next month unless Schwarzenegger makes more appointments, according to Perata and the board's chairman, John Muller.

But McLear said even though two of the board's members resigned Oct. 31, they could serve an additional 60 days if they choose to. He added that the board does not play a role in the immediate spill response and that Perata's bill would not have taken effect until January. Muller said the board will largely play an enforcement role in the spill aftermath, a process that likely will occur in several months after an investigation. The board also will focus on long-term cleanup efforts. He said the board's executive officer is involved in cleanup briefings but that the panel itself does not have an active role at the moment.

Sign of the Times: When Oil Closed Our Beaches


Mary Sheppard photo

November 12, 2007

San Mateo County Community Alert: Register Here to Volunteer

San Mateo County has a brand-new alert system for residents to receive notices about emergencies in their communities. The county asks all interested volunteers for oil spill emergency response, wildlife rescue, and other alerts to register at the site to make it easier to coordinate volunteers in the county. Click this link to register and receive alerts:  SAN MATEO COUNTY EMERGENCY ALERT

Oil Spill Photos: Evidence of a Crime Against Nature



Criminal Probe in Oil Spill


By ERICA WERNER - Associated Press Writer
Published 8:59 am PST Monday, November 12, 2007

Federal investigators were considering Monday whether to file criminal charges against the crew members of a container ship that struck the Bay Bridge and ripped a gash in its fuel tank, creating the San Francisco Bay's worst oil spill in nearly two decades. The ship was being detained at the Port of Oakland. Crew members of the Asia-based Cosco Busan were questioned on board the vessel beginning Sunday, said Coast Guard attorney Christopher Tribolet. Any charges would likely fall under the negligence provisions of the Clean Water Act and the U.S. transportation code, Tribolet said.

The Coast Guard notified the U.S. attorney's office Saturday about problems involving management and communication between the officers on the ship's bridge at the time of the crash. Capt. William Uberti, the U.S. Coast Guard commander for the bay region, declined to elaborate, except to say: "It was just the way that everybody interacted" on the bridge. The bridge personnel included the helmsman, watch officer, and ship's master, as well as the pilot, Capt. John Cota, among the most experienced of the seamen who guide ships through the bay's treacherous waters.

It was unclear how many crew members were still aboard the ship Monday. Questioning began Sunday, and at least six members were found to have immigration or visa issues, authorities said. Foreign crew members on board any ship in U.S. ports need the permission of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to disembark, Tribolet said.

Darrell Wilson, a representative for Regal Stone Ltd., the Hong Kong-based company that owns the Cosco Busan, declined to comment on the investigation. A call to the U.S. attorney's office for Northern California was not returned Monday. The ship struck the bridge early Wednesday, causing no structural damage to the span but leaking some 58,000 gallons of fuel oil into the bay. The thick, toxic fuel has fouled miles of coastline, forced the closure of nearly two dozen beaches and piers and killed dozens of seabirds.

Meanwhile, the head of the Coast Guard defended his agency's response to the spill while pledging a full and transparent investigation. "On the surface it would appear that we did everything by the book in this case as far as responding," Commandant Adm. Thad Allen told The Associated Press while en route from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco to survey the damage.

"However, having done this work for over 36 years, nothing is as it seems at the start," he said. "We need to recover all the information, make sure all the facts are established." The Coast Guard has been criticized for a lag time of several hours between when agency officials learned that the spill was 58,000 gallons - not 140 as initially reported - and when that information was given to local officials and the public.

Allen said it may have taken time to figure out the extent of the spill partly because gear used to measure how much fuel is in the oil tank were damaged in the crash. He also noted the poor visibility at the time - a quarter-mile to an eighth-mile in the fog. "You don't turn 900-foot vessels on a dime," he said, "and given the visibility at the time I think it would be difficult to assess whether or not the bridge itself was visible."

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., met with Coast Guard officials Sunday and called for improvements to the system for responding to spills. She said communication needs to be better between the Coast Guard and the communities where toxic sludge began washing up shortly after the crash. "There were a lot of unusual things such as weather, but that should not excuse this," Feinstein said.

After touching down in San Francisco, Allen boarded a Coast Guard helicopter for a one-hour aerial tour of affected areas of the bay with Coast Guard Adm. Craig Bone, the agency's top officer in California. The helicopter swooped over the Golden Gate Bridge and hovered near the Bay Bridge, where the wooden bulkhead surrounding the bridge support was splintered and broken where the ship had struck it. Shiny slicks of oil still floated on some parts of the bay, while crews in hazmat suits trudged along beaches near Sausalito and Emeryville as couples walked nearby and people flew kites.

More than 10,000 gallons of oil had been recovered by Sunday, but much of the oil never will be, the Coast Guard said. Some will evaporate or dissipate and be absorbed into the ecosystem. The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal agency that investigates major transportation accidents, arrived Sunday to start its own investigation. That inquiry, which will include an examination of the Coast Guard's response, could take up to a year, said Debbie Hersman, an NTSB spokeswoman.

November 11, 2007

Oiled Seagull Spotted on Pacifica State Beach, Linda Mar


Mary Sheppard photo

Wildlife at Risk, but Coast Guard Waited to Act

Emergency officials were pressured Thursday to explain why it took them hours to announce that 58,000 gallons of oil had leaked from a container ship that rammed the Bay Bridge on Wednesday - creating a slick that has contaminated beaches and injured hundreds of birds from Hunters Point to the Marin Headlands and out to the Farallon Islands.

All through the day, the heavy fuel oil that spilled from the container ship Cosco Busan washed up on beaches along the San Francisco and Marin coastlines, leaving purplish sheens on the water and black blobs in the sand. Hundreds of birds coated in thick, gloppy oil were injured or dead.

Oil began leaking into the water after the 65,131-ton, 810-foot-long ship crashed into the base of a tower of the Bay Bridge's western span in heavy fog at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Within an hour, six emergency vessels from the Coast Guard and Marine Spill Response Corp. were on the scene, Uberti said. Yet up until 4 p.m., officials apparently believed only 140 gallons of oil had leaked into the water.

They then learned that the actual amount of the spill was a much more alarming 58,000 gallons, Uberti said. That news was not announced to the public and some local officials until 9 p.m.
The crash was the first time an oceangoing ship had run into the bridge. The structure did not sustain major damage, but the wildlife in the area is in trouble for at least weeks to come.

"It's very discouraging, and it's bad. Birds come here to feed because it's a very rich, a very diverse region," said Jay Holcomb, director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, the rehabilitation center that eventually will receive all of the recovered oiled birds. "We know oil spills are horrible. The animals are frightened. We catch what we can. We do the best we can, but we're limited in what we do. It's just sad to see this."

Coast Guard officials said 16 beaches have been closed to the public since the spill Wednesday because of contamination: Angel Island, Crissy Field, Kirby Cove, Black Sand Beach, Rodeo Beach, Fort Point, Muir Beach, Fort Baker and China Beach, Tennessee Valley, Keller Beach, Point Isabel, Ferry Point, Cesar Chavez Beach, Middle Harbor and Shimada Park.

Wildlife officials said finding birds and other animals covered in oil is as high a priority as containing the spill. The most common species feeding at the Golden Gate at this time of year are western grebes and scoters. "The birds' first response is to get out of the water" after a spill, said Dr. Mike Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. "Because they're out of the water, they can't eat. They can become severely debilitated and can die unless brought into rehabilitation."

"There are a lot of birds here. This is a feeding area," said Jay Holcomb, the executive director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center, who was collecting the rescued birds. The birds were taken to the center's headquarters in Cordelia to be cleaned and rehabilitated. Some of the wildlife at risk:

-- Diving ducks such as surf scoters, greater scaups, lesser scaups, buffleheads and ruddy ducks -- Western, eared and horned grebes -- Common and red-throated loons -- Western, California, glaucous and Bonaparte gulls -- Double-crested, pelagic and Brandt's cormorants -- Common murres -- California brown pelican

-- Harbor seals -- California sea lions -- Dahl's porpoises -- Harbor porpoises -- Northern fur seals -- Humpbacked whales

-- Anchovies -- Topsmelt -- Surfperch -- Leopard shark -- Smoothhound shark

By the numbers. As of Friday, 28 birds have died. 94 oiled birds are being rehabilitated. 15 wildlife-recovery teams are on beaches. 20,546 gallons of fuel oil recovered. 11 skimmers deployed on the water.

HOW YOU CAN HELP VOLUNTEERING: Fish and Game volunteers: Send your name and e-mail address to coscobusanspill@ospr.dfg.ca.gov .

Oiled Wildlife Care Network: Call 1-800-228-4544. Team members require specific training.

OILED WILDLIFE. If you see oiled wildlife: Don't approach it or pick it up. Instead, report it by calling 1-877-823-6926 and ask for a search and collection team to come to the area. Teams are going out frequently.If you've already collected an oiled bird: Record the name of the beach and the time and the date it was collected. Wear Nitrile gloves (not latex). Put the birds in paper (not plastic) bags. Put only one bird in a bag. To report oil sightings: Call (985) 781-0804.

TO DONATE TO THE CLEANUP: Wildlife experts say that the responsible party is expected to pay for the cost of wildlife cleanup. But to make a donation for ongoing costs relating to oiled wildlife care, please make a check out to UC Regents and send to VM Wildlife Health Center, TB 128, University of California-Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, Calif. 95616.

Read the most up-to-date reports from the COAST GUARD


November 10, 2007

Fumes from Oil Spill Sicken Bay Ferry Boat Passenger

A friend reports that the fumes from the S.F. Bay oil spill sickened her as she crossed the bay on a ferry boat. Have you had any firsthand experience with the spill or bird rescues? Riptide wants to hear from you. Write to editor@pacificariptide.com

Rescue Instructions for Oiled Birds Found in Pacifica

If you find an oiled bird in Pacifica, try to put it in a box and keep it in a warm, dark, and quiet place. Then call Penny Keating at 359-2958.  She will collect them at her place, 69 Shoreside at Danmann, and get  animal control to pick them up in batches to take to the oiled bird rescue center. It is very difficult to reach anyone at the rescue number.

Jeri Flinn
Pacifica Beach Coalition

November 09, 2007

Contact Information for Bird Rescue, Oil Spill Reporting

Please go to OILED WILDLIFE CARE NETWORK for more information on how you can help. Marine Mammal Center is taking direction from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (click link above) and suggests that anyone interested in volunteering check in with them. I called the OWCN volunteer number 800-228-4544 and was instructed to go to the above link for instructions and updates. The number to report oil sightings is 985-781-0804. The number for wildlife reportings is 877-823-6926.

For more news on the oil spill, go to KTVU and the links highlighted in the next paragraph. If I hear more that we can do, I will keep you posted. If you hear more, please keep me posted. Of course, we are all sickened by this development. Perhaps we need to follow it up with action and also legislative pressure to have better safeguards and responses in place.

This update just sent to me by Aaron Tinker of the Marine Science Institute in Redwood City. Please see the attached press release from NOAA and the Press Release/Incident Summary from PRBO Conservation Science below. Please also check out the SFBJV website over the next day or so for news coverage of the spill (OIL SPILL NEWS and MORE OIL SPILL NEWS. PRBO's Oil Spill Response Team has been deployed since the Cosco Busan spilled 58,000 gallons of oil in SF Bay. Bird Rescue and Research Center BIRD RESCUE (IBRRC). Identifying and documenting the oiled animals (live and dead) is a critical component of spill response- this is the scientific evidence used to legally assess the impact of the spill on wildlife. PRBO's Oil Spill Response Team is part of the state of California's Incident Command Structure. 

PRBO does not collect or rehabilitate wildlife. If you would like to volunteer to help with the Cosco Busan spill, contact  the IBRRC at 707-207-0380, or go to THE ABOVE LINKS. All of PRBO's biologists in the field are noting oiled wildlife. PRBO biologists have noted oiled Common Murres on the Farallones. Island biologists are now conducting intense daily surveys of the island and are in direct communication with USFWS about the Farallones wildlife. If you would like to speak to someone at PRBO about the oil spill, please contact Melissa Pitkin at 707-781-2555 ext. 307.

To report oiled wildlife: Call the Oiled Wildlife Hotline: 877.823.6926 to report oiled animals or oiled waterways. Oiled LIVE mammals should be reported to the Marine Mammal Center at 415.464-5170. Oiled dead mammals should be reported to the California Academy of Science at 415.289.7325. If you see a single oiled bird, call Lindsay Wildlife Museum at Montclair Veterinary Clinic & Hospital, 1961 Mountain Blvd., Oakland, (510) 339-8600. If you see evidence of oil affecting multiple birds, try International Bird Rescue Research Center, Cordelia, Solano Co. (707) 207-0380, ext. 110 (hospital extension) or Wildcare, San Rafael, (415) 456-SAVE (7283).

Natalie Cosentino-Manning at the NOAA Restoration Center is collecting pictures and information about the spill. Please email your photos and information to Natalie.c-manning@noaa.gov, please cc mlatta.

Melissa Pitkin
PRBO Education and Outreach Director
3820 Cypress Drive, #11
Petaluma, CA 94954
(707) 781-2555 ext. 307


REPORTED BY Lynn Adams, Pacifica Beach Coalition

November 08, 2007

Surfrider Alert: Big San Francisco Bay Oil Spill and Cleanup


I just talked to woman who is in charge of oil spill control at my work (BCDC). She is out at Fort Mason where all the involved agencies are meeting and working from. She told me to call the Coast Guard's Public Info Line at (510) 772-8865. I left a message to see what environmental groups and the public can do to help. I also called the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary office at (415) 561-6622. They are conducting surveys to see the damage of the spill (counting animals, taking water samples, etc.).

The Farallones contact gave me the following information that we may want to pass on to others:
If people see oil in the water, they should call (985) 781-0804. If people see oiled wildlife, they should call (877) 823- 6926. The animals will be picked up and taken to a facility to be cared for.
As for beach cleanup, people have to be specially trained (HAZMAT) to conduct an oil spill cleanup. The beaches are closed for health and safety for the time being. But I am sure that volunteers will be needed at some point. We should contact our volunteers when the professional cleanup crew or other agencies or groups need volunteers.