Oiled Wildlife Research: Our Pursuit of Knowledge Never Ends

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network spends much of its time focusing on Readiness, Response and Reaching Out. But sprinkled into our daily thoughts, and monthly projects include a healthy dose of Research. This aspect will be highlighted next week, as we virtually host our Scientific Advisory Committee for its annual meeting to review numerous full and small grant proposals. (Click here to learn more about our OWCN Competitive Grants Program)

The OWCN Scientific Advisory Committee includes scientifically qualified individuals from academia, the oil industry, rehabilitation organizations and other research institutions. The Committee reviews completed research and technology development proposals in advance, and then gathers annually to evaluate their scientific merit and quality. To date, the Committee has awarded over $4.5 million of grant funds to more than 190 scientifically meritorious studies.

The core goals of the Competitive Grants Program include:

  • Improve Animal Care
  • Assess Wildlife Health
  • Determine Wildlife Population Information that Aids in Caring for Oiled Wildlife
  • Develop New Technology for Oiled Wildlife Care

Projects supported by this program have included both basic research and applied research projects. The OWCN supports both large-scale research projects, which require more than $15,000 per year for up to three years, and small or pilot projects, which require less than $15,000 for one year of funding. Click here to see some of our previously funded grants.

And in the spirit of scientific research, we wanted to highlight a few recent publications and articles, our last OWCN Town Hall that focused on this very topic and a fantastic spring seminar series hosted by one of our Member Organizations, the Estuary and Ocean Science Center!

Lastly, we wish to provide a huge Thank You to our dedicated Scientific Advisory Committee members for lending us their expertise and support! Science is work in progress, and I can’t wait to see what we discover next.

Scott Buhl – Field Operations Readiness Coordinator

And the next Oilapalooza will be – wait for it…

Scott, Greg, and I are on our way back from the latest Basic Responder Training at the Marine Wildlife Care Center, located on Humboldt State University’s campus in Arcata. The last time I was in Arcata was nearly 20 years ago for the predecessor of the BRT, which was called Advanced Supervisors Training. Interestingly, this was the first time I met Greg. We only know this because of photographic evidence – neither of us actually remembers meeting each other, but we have actually known each since 2001, not 2010.

The Basic Responder Training brought in members from Shasta Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Humboldt State University, and a strong showing from Bird Ally X @ Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. We actually have a lot of Network members in this region. We had the chance to visit the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center and check out the new location of the Institute for Wildlife Studies – one of our hazing and collection Network members that is also based in Arcata.


I forgot just how much is happening in this area, and just how beautiful it is. The drive up through the redwoods was stunning. We arrived early the day before the BRT, which gave us plenty of time to check out the incredible facilities of our hotel – the Best Western Plus, Humboldt Bay Inn located in Eureka – which has a solarium with a pool table, a swimming-pool-sized hot tub with a waterfall, and tikki bar with fire pits. Just a couple blocks away is old town Eureka, which has an incredible food Co-op and a lot of great restaurants.

You may be wondering right about now why I’m rambling about hotels and towns in this distant refuge behind the redwood curtain. That’s because this is where we’ll be hosting the next Oilapalooza, this October 16-17th!!! With the improved highways and direct flights from LA, access to this beautiful destination will be much easier for all of our member organizations.

As if the Network partners, natural beauty, and incredible wildlife (not to mention the spill history) of this region weren’t enough, we’ve already started planning for some incredible workshops, lectures, and hands-on experiences. Stay tuned for more on that. For now, save the date: October 16-17th2019. Additional information and registration details coming soon.

oilapalooza is coming

Hope to see some of you in Humboldt County!!

~ Danene


Danene Birtell – OWCN Readiness Coordinator