The first three months of 2009 was a busy time for oiled wildlife response throughout the world!
For the U.S., remembering the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound (20 years ago) and the Platform A oil well blowout in Santa Barbara that started the US EPA (40 years ago), we have had time to reflect on the devastation that oil spills can wreak on the environment.
In looking back, we have also had an opportunity to evaluate how far we have come for spill preparedness over this relatively short period of time, but also emphasizing where additional attention should be placed.
We have also had several spills in, and reports from, different areas of the world that have shown us that constant readiness and research is critical to make sure oiled wildlife responders are as ready as possible to help affected wildlife in distress.
Several key news articles have come out in the past several months detailing many of these issues. The OWCN has been very active on many of these fronts, and is working with the key colleagues in these areas to help where we can. These include:
- Remembering the Lessons of the Exxon Valdez (TIME Magazine) – The OWCN continues to support research evaluating this recovering ecosystem, including the effects of oil on otters, birds and fish.
- Queensland oil spill & volunteer issues (ABC News) – The OWCN provided info on how to care for oiled sea turtles in this spill, as well as info on the effective use of volunteers in spills (interesting parallels with Cosco Busan’s volunteer issues).
- Puget Sound: One oil spill away from disaster? (Seattle Times) – The OWCN continues to help WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife develop better response plans for oiled wildlife care and volunteer issues.
- Chemicals that clean oil spills harm fish (MSNBC) – The OWCN is actively evaluating the effects of dispersants on seabirds and otters through in-house research, and has extensively funded studies on these effects in fish.
We hope that providing this type of info regularly in the OWCN’s blog, we can keep everyone up-to-date on the most recent information out there, and let you know what the OWCN is doing to help on these broader issues related to oiled wildlife response. After all, the best way for us to provide the best achievable capture and care of oiled wildlife is to share the knowledge and experience that exists!
-Mike Ziccardi, Director