Greetings from Arcata!
As many of you know, several of us from the OWCN management team arrived here late yesterday to help ensure that we were doing everything possible to find, capture, and treat potentially impacted wildlife resulting from the truck that overturned late Saturday night on Highway 101. The truck that overturned was carrying diesel, which spilled into the nearby Big Lagoon, just north of Arcata. With thousands of waterfowl that consider Big Lagoon a good “hangout”, the fear was that many of these birds would become oiled.
They say that to be a truly happy person, you should be grateful for and recognize the little (and big) things in your life that happen every day. Not sure who “they” are, but I am told they are very wise people who know what they are talking about. And in the spirit of the holidays, when most people are practicing, or at least thinking about being grateful, I want to share with you some things that I am grateful for these past couple of days:
- I am grateful that there are great OSPR folks up here, that reacted quickly and truly care for the amazing wildlife in this area.
- I am grateful that after a day and a half of field operations we have yet to see or capture confirmed oiled animals.
- I am grateful that this happened in the winter, right before the lagoon breached, which I am told happens each year with the winter rains. If this spill had happened in the summer, a lot of the spilled diesel would have stayed in the lagoon, and more animals would have likely been oiled.
- I am grateful that today was the only sunny day they have had in this area in like 10 years. The forecast is for rain tomorrow (seriously – look it up if you don’t believe me).
- I am grateful that the gas stations around here are wide enough and not so crowded that I can drive the Sprinter and the boat trailer up to the gas pump without crazy maneuvering in a small space (it’s not pretty – take my word for it).
- I am grateful that we have a wonderful team of responders up here that can be counted on to make sure the wildlife are safe – either by going out in the field (and freezing their buns off – can I say that in a blog?), or getting the facilities ready (at the Marine Wildlife Care Center at HSU, which would be the primary care center for a spill in this area, and Humboldt Wildlife Care Center/Bird AllyX.
- I am especially grateful for hot coffee in the morning and cold beer at night (not sure if I can say the beer thing either, but there you have it).
There are many things to be grateful for tonight. The plan for tomorrow is to have two Wildlife Recovery teams searching the Big Lagoon area at first light. We would be grateful for no sightings of oiled wildlife, but if there are, we are certain that they will be captured quickly and well-cared for by our amazing team of responders.