Last week Nancy and I participated in the SeaRiver 2013 Farallon Islands Exercise (the word used for spill “drill”) in San Francisco. This was one of the big drills, with almost 300 people at the “Command Post” representing many different groups, including the BP, ExxonMobil, the Coast Guard, CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, the National Park Service, among many many others. The scenario that they were testing involved a collision between two vessels just south of the Farallon Islands, spilling 20,000 barrels of crude into the surrounding waters. The trajectory had the oil affecting the Farallones as well as the coastline both north and south of Golden Gate Bridge. For two days we worked within the Wildlife Branch to identify wildlife recovery teams, field stabilization personnel, and staging areas on the mainland. In addition, we contacted the Point Blue Conservation Science biologists on the Farallon Islands as well as USFWS people at the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex to alert them of the drill and to work through some of the curve balls that were thrown at us, including some “oiled” animals that showed up on the Farallones. In the three years that I have been attending spill drills it is always an incredible learning experience – not only testing out our response capabilities, but learning how the Wildlife Branch integrates into all the different levels of the response. At times it is a challenge to work with the other groups to make sure that wildlife needs and issues are being taken into account, but overall it was a great drill and a great learning experience. It was especially gratifying to work with all the different groups and to see the quick response time in getting set up to collect and start treatment of oiled wildlife. Had this been a real event (SO glad it wasn’t!), there is not doubt in my mind that we would have been very well-prepared.