The OWCN management staff are busy working on many concurrent projects here in Davis, but one shared project we have all been spending time on has been increasing our inland response readiness.
We have secured additional field and care equipment for inland species, began to draft detailed protocols, added significantly to our mobile response gear, and even welcomed some fantastic new Member Organizations whose locations and expertise immediately improve our inland readiness. If you view the 2018 OWCN Member Organization map below, you will see that we have spread east from the coast, welcoming some amazing new groups over the last few years, including:
As a reminder, the impetus for our inland expansion came from Senate Bill 861 in 2014, which expanded oiled wildlife response to cover all statewide surface waters. This legislative mandate was based on numerous factors, some of which are discussed in the video below by our illustrious Deputy Directors, as well as brief recap of our first inland Full Deployment Drill held in Quincy in 2017.
Video courtesy of our former Wildlife Health Center communication guru, Justin Cox (we miss you, buddy!)
Oil spill response requires so much STUFF! Everything from carriers and nets to medical supplies and mops. We talk a lot about how our responders prepare by participating in training and drills, and we like to show off our big equipment like our MASH trailer or the Wildlife Recovery Sprinter, but I’m here to tell you that the Network puts a lot of work into making sure all the smaller details are in place as well.
From the northern redwood wilds to the balmy southern shores, no part of California is too far from a not-really-secret stash of OWCN response supplies. We’ve got trailers stuffed with hazing and recovery supplies, cabinets and closets filled with animal care essentials, and storage bins packed with everything evidence-collection. More than half of our Member Organizations maintain some type of supply stockpile for the Network, donating a closet or room or parking space to the cause.
A very thrilling look at one of our LA area stockpiles
Keeping stocked and ready to respond anywhere in this enormous state is a real team effort. Not only do we need secure storage for all that stuff, it all needs to be maintained and checked and inventoried regularly, and some items need to be traded out and kept up-to-date. And since we’re constantly striving for excellence and improvement, we’re also often making adjustments to the contents of these stockpiles.
All of this requires hands – to research, order, receive, document, count, and put away. Hundreds of people contribute, from the admin staff that process our purchases to the volunteers and staff who count and tidy the actual stockpiles each year. But in the end, all this work is worthwhile. It means that when an oiled bird needs oil rinsed from its eyes, our caretakers will have the eyewash solution they need in order to do that. And when an oiled fur seal needs fluids, it won’t have to wait for someone to run to the store. Thanks to everyone who makes it happen.