OK, so I realize that the last three posts have all been centered around a common theme – training! But we have one more example to share. In addition to our international assistance training, our regular California-based OWCN training program, and our unique cross-training opportunities at Oilapalooza, this year we have seen an increase in requests for affiliated agency and partner trainings across the state.
In June, Kyra and I traveled down to San Luis Obispo (an area I am biased toward as I grew up there), and provided a 1 day training to engaged staff at Padres Associates, Inc. – an environmental science and geoenvironmental consulting firm. This group has been hired to work on a local remediation and restoration project in an effort to monitor for and reduce the risk of wildlife impacts from exposed hydrocarbons. In coordination with the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), Padre Associates developed an Oiled Wildlife Contingency Plan and were interested in a training so that OWCN could provide a more hands-on approach for oiled wildlife deterrence, recovery and transport.
In addition to project-specific training requests, over the next few months we will also be delivering some oiled wildlife trainings, with a focus on field operations – hazing, recovery and transport, to our colleagues at OSPR. Their Field Response Teams (FRTs) are often first on scene during an oil spill in California, and have the tough task of determining if there are any oiled wildlife present, or if any wildlife are at risk of potentially becoming oiled. That task has become an even greater challenge with the inland expansion, as often the FRTs are responding in remote locations, and have limited local resources available should they need it. So our goal will be to introduce them to some quick yet effective ideas they can implement in the field to deter wildlife from spill sites and if necessary, safely but efficiently capture oiled wildlife and prepare them for transport.
And last but not least, our colleagues at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have also requested a day of training in September, so that they too can improve their oiled wildlife skills during response. Many of the USFWS staff are field biologists, 24hr HAZWOPER certified, and are making a concerted effort to improve their readiness should their efforts be needed in the field during inland responses.
Although our calendar is certainly busy these next few months with training dates, it also serves as a pleasant reminder that we reside in a state full of cooperative, collaborative agencies and organizations, all doing their part in maintaining their readiness should an oil spill occur.
A big thank you to all past and future training participants…successful spill response is a team sport and we can’t do it without you!