This week, Nancy and I spent Wednesday and Thursday in San Pedro at the Gallagher Marine Systems drill, where we had the opportunity to work through a scenario involving a spill near the Channel Islands. It was a really interesting exercise, considering all the sensitive species and habitats that would be affected in that area. There were concerns about marine mammals as well as seabirds, and the islands present tremendous challenges in terms of field operations. The drill was well-organized, and as with every drill, we learned a lot.
One advantage of drills is the opportunity to see friends and colleagues, and this week was no exception. We worked closely with Holly Gellerman and Laird Henkel of OSPR, as well as Sarah Wilkin from NMFS/NOAA and Jordan Stout from NOAA. There were a lot of other familiar (and friendly!) faces from OSPR, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the US Coast Guard.
I spoke to numerous people from a variety of our member organizations, including International Bird Rescue, SeaWorld, Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, PRBO, California Wildlife Center, and the Marine Mammal Center at Ft MacArthur. As usual, all our member organizations were happy to assist and had trained personnel available. I was quite impressed that despite everyone’s busy schedules, I was able to speak to either a primary or secondary contact from every member organization I called within an hour. What an awesome network we have!!
The drill injects were realistic (or, if not wholly realistic, then executed with passion!) and Laird and I had a particularly engaging one involving some children hugging oiled turtles. Oil spill response is many things, but it is never dull!
Thanks again to all our member organizations for their participation in this training exercise. We appreciate the fact that so many organizations, agencies, companies, and individuals recognize the importance of drills in keeping our response machinery working smoothly.