In my last blog post I mentioned that as we continue to plan for inland response, on the hazing side, we have recently expanded our supply of hazing equipment, identified locations where this equipment will be stored, and continued to enhance our list of core hazing responders. To that end, on the equipment side, we have purchased two new hazing trailers and are in the process of equipping and staging them. One trailer has already been moved to the far northeastern portion of the state (Alturas), which is close to one of the locations identified as “high risk” areas for inland spills (areas, that because of previous derailments, rough terrain, rock slide-prone areas) have been deemed as having a higher likelihood of spills into waterways. The trailers that are being equipped with hazing supplies also carry some Wildlife Recovery equipment as part of our integration of hazing and recovery (= Field Operation) capabilities. We are planning additional equipment staging in Redding, the Feather River Canyon area, Bakersfield, and potentially other locations – once again, close to high risk inland areas. These staged supplies can help speed the early response by ensuring that the first responders have adequate and readily available equipment so they can hit the ground running while other supplies may be in transit from Davis.
The other activity I have been involved with recently is meeting with inland species hazing experts and looking at ways to test some specialized hazing devices. In addition to testing new hazing methods and staging hazing equipment as part of inland response planning, Scott, Kyra, and I have been meeting regularly to develop a strategy for field op integration. Since both recovery and hazing personnel would be in the field during a response, it makes sense to try to integrate these two groups as much as possible. Field response strategies can include anything from deterrence (keeping animals away from oil), pre-emptive capture (the capture of animals before they get oiled), or oiled wildlife capture. As you can imagine, given the array of species that use waterways of the state that might be affected by spills (creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds), it is a daunting task to try to prepare for every eventuality – in fact not possible. But we are working with our network partners, the wildlife agencies, and others to have the necessary information at hand, when a spill occurs, for who to call for specialized skills for hazing, capture, and care.
Going through this planning process challenges all of us to think outside our previous experience and planning, which is both challenging and rewarding. We feel up to the task with the help of all of our partner organizations and others that may join in the future.