Oil Spill Preparation and Response

U.S. Fish and Wildife Service
Oil Spill Contingency Plan
June 2005
Migratory Bird Care
During Oil Spill Response
Cover Memo and
Final Document (4MB pdf)
The challenge of managing oil spills in the United States is increasing in complexity and magnitude. Oil spills threaten millions of miles of coastline, river systems, lakes and terrestrial habitat daily, particularly where there is extensive oil drilling, refining, and transport. Serious, and potentially permanent, ecological damage is possible where chronic spills or spills of national significance occur. The goal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Oil Spill Program is to emphasize early (contingency) planning and cooperation at the local, regional and national level in an effort to minimize the injury to fish, wildlife, and sensitive environments from oil spills.The Departments of the Interior, Commerce and Agriculture, together with Tribal governments, States, and other jurisdictions, are responsible for protecting these natural resources. Because oil spills respect no boundaries, uniform Federal policies and programs are essential. In addition, since the resources necessary to respond to oil spills are limited and vary among the response agencies, it is more important than ever to establish and strengthen cooperative relationships.
Some additional information published on the Oil Spill Program include:

Recent Spills of National Interest:

Bridger Pipeline Failure Oil Spill Response

Thumbnail image of snapping turtle in large tub awaiting release.

An aerial view of the mostly-frozen Yellowstone River downstream of the spill. Photo credit: Karen Nelson / USFWS

At approximately 1030 MST on Saturday, January 17, 2015, the Bridger Pipeline controller at the control room in Casper, Wyoming, noticed some abnormal pressure readings on the Bridger Pipeline's Poplar Pipeline and began to investigate. The pipeline system pressure alarms sounded, and the pipeline was shut down. Bridger Pipeline personnel then attempted to confirm a release and were unable to determine what the problem was and did not observe any oil releases due to ice cover on the river.

A National Response Center (NRC) incident report (#1105930) was filed by Bridger Pipeline LLC (Bridger) at 1430 MST stating that there was a potential release of crude oil into the Yellowstone River. A second NRC incident report (#1105969) was filed at 1012 MST on Sunday, January, 18, 2015, confirming the spill. The quantity of crude oil released has been estimated at between 300 barrels and 1,200 barrels.

Michigan, Kalamazoo/Enbridge Oil Spill Response

Thumbnail image of snapping turtle in large tub awaiting release.

Snapping turtle rehabilitated at wildlife rehabilitation center in Marshall, Mich., and released near Battle Creek River. USFWS Photo

On July 26, 2010, 30-inch pipeline burst on near Marshall, Michigan. more than 800,000 gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek (view map), a waterway that feeds the Kalamazoo River.

Deepwater Horizon (Mississippi Canyon 252)

Screen shot of wildlife rescue video
GULF OF MEXICO - View from above shows Coast Guard Cutter Cypress' skimmer hard at work in a large patch of oil. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ensign Frankie L. Temple. 
On April 20, 2010, while working on an exploratory well approximately 50 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, the semi-submersible drilling rig Deepwater Horizon experienced an explosion and fire. The damaged platform capsized and sank on April 22, 2010. The rig is owned by Transocean and under contract to BP. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The Deepwater Horizon rig contained an estimated 700,000 gallons of fuel before it sank. In addition, oil has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico from damaged sections of piping on the sea floor. The government and the commercial parties involved are continuing their efforts to contain and disperse the spill.


New Orleans, Louisiana Oil Spill (Tanker Tintomara Collision with Barge DM932) Response Site

Screen shot of wildlife rescue video

New Orleans, Louisiana Oil Spill Wildlife Rescue Video. Video Compilation Credit: Buddy Goatcher and Anthony Valesco/USFWS

On July 23, 2008, a major release of #6 fuel oil occurred in the Mississippi River, in New Orleans, Louisiana.  More than 9,000 barrels of oil were released.  The release necessitated the closure of more than 80 miles of river to commercial shipping and recreational boating.  The river, shorelines, and adjacent wetlands were impacted in much of the area.  This incident represents a significant threat to fish, wildlife, and habitat quality.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Contaminants Program and National Wildlife Refuge System personnel have responded to the incident.

Cosco Busan, San Francisco, California:

Oil booms line Rode0 Beach in San Francisco, California.
San Francisco - Oil booms line a San Francisco, California, beach. November 9, 2007. The beach was closed after oil spilled fram a South Korea-bound container ship after it struck a tower supporting the San Francsico-Oakland Bay Bridge in dense fog. Credit: Desmond Thorsson/U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary.

September 2011

$36.8 Million Natural Resource Damages Settlement to Restore Natural Resources and Improve Recreational Opportunities in Areas Affected by Cosco Busan Oil Spill

State and federal trustee agencies will use most of the funds from a $36.8 million settlement of natural resource damages to restore natural resources injured by the Nov. 7, 2007 oil spill in the San Francisco Bay and improve Bay Area recreational opportunities impacted by the spill. The funds are part of a $44.4 million settlement with Regal Stone Limited and Fleet Management Limited, the companies responsible for the container ship Cosco Busan that spilled 53,000 gallons of oil into the bay after hitting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

“This is an excellent example of how the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration process can provide for the benefit of all after catastrophe strikes,” observed Susan Moore, Field Supervisor for the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife. "Following the public comment period and finalization of the restoration plan, the settlement will provide outstanding restoration benefiting the fish, wildlife and people of the greater San Francisco Bay area.”

Notice of Lodging of Consent Decree Under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, The Park System Resource Protection Act, The Oil Pollution Act and The Clean Water Act (Sept 27, 2011, pdf)


Final Cosco Busan DARP (pdf)
Cosco Busan NRDA Final DARP press release 3/1/2012 (pdf)

App A REA-7-05 Access (pdf)
App B Seabird and Waterfowl Mortality Report Ford Access (pdf)
App C Shorebird Mortality Report Access (pdf)
App D Herring Injury Study (pdf)
App E HEA Inputs Justifications Access (pdf)
App F Rocky Intertidal Injury Details Access (pdf)
App G Baseline Use Report IEc Access (pdf)
App H Fishing Losses Report IEc Access (pdf)
App I Boating Losses Report IEc Access (pdf)
App J Shoreline Use Stratus (pdf)
App K Benthic Inverts Peterson Michel Access (pdf)
App L Trustee Responses to Public Comments (pdf)

Supplement to Cosco Busan Oil Spill Draft Natural Resource Damage Assessment Restoration Plan/ Environmental Assessment Revised Proposal Summary for Restoration of Marbled Murrelets (pdf)
Notice of Fish and Wildlife Service Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the M/V Cosco Busan Oil Spill (Sept 27, 2011, pdf)

Cosco Busan NRDA Settlement Press Release (pdf)

Cosco Busan DARP Settlement Newsletter (pdf)
Cosco Busan Draft DARP 9-1-11 (pdf)

Cosco Busan Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Administrative Record Index (Revised Sept 15, 2011, pdf)
Cosco Busan Oil Spill, Administrative Record - Department of Fish And Game website

January 2010 Updates

Cosco Busan FINAL Notice of Intent 1-7-10 (pdf)

Cosco Busan Administrative Review Index 1-14-2010 (pdf)
Cosco Busan .kmz views for Admin Record (2.5MB pdf)
Cosco Busan NRDA factsheet Oct 2009 (pdf)

July 2009 Update:
The pilot who caused the Cosco Busan, a 900-foot long container ship, to collide with the San Francisco Bay Bridge and discharge approximately 53,000 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay, was today sentenced to serve 10 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston for the Northern District of California, the Justice Department announced. Department of Justice News Release: Prison Sentence for Cosco Busan pilot — Pilot Sentenced to Serve 10 Months in Federal Prison

On November 7, 2007 the cargo vessel Cosco Busan hit the San Francisco Bay Bridge in heavy fog.  The impact ruptured the hull (~100 ft x 12 ft and 4 ft deep) and spilled approximately 58,000 gallons of medium grade fuel oil.  Most of the oil has spread to central San Francisco Bay and outer coast (North and South of the Golden Gate Bridge).  The spill did not make contact with San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) lands in the South Bay or offshore at the Farallon Islands, although oiled birds were found at all of the refuges.

Staff from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, California-Nevada Operations Office, Portland Regional Office, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and Burlingame Law Enforcement Office assisted with spill response and natural resource damage assessment at various times.

As of 5 p.m. Dec. 6, 2007, information about the clean-up was as follows:

  • Total personnel employed: 440
  • Total gallons discharged:  Approximately 58,000
  • Total birds captured:  1,063
  • Total birds cleaned:  783
  • Total birds released:  347
  • Total birds died in facility:  618
  • Total birds dead on arrival:  1,759
  • Remaining feet of boom laid out: 1,800
  • Federally-listed endangered or threatened species injured or killed include:

The Cosco Busan incident is similar to a spill that occurred 11 years ago.  On October 28, 1996, the Cape Mohican spilled approximately 40,000 gallons of Intermediate Fuel Oil very near the site of the current spill. According to Service employees who responded during both spills, the “behavior” of the Cosco Busan spill is very similar to the previous spill which has helped Contaminants and Refuge staff in planning their response and assessment actions.

Fact Sheets:
    Cosco Busan Oil Spill (2MB pdf)
    Spill Response - Environmental Response and Restoration Branch (1MB pdf)
    Oil Spills and the Public (pdf)
    Oil and Nature (pdf)
    The Service at Coastal Oil Spills (pdf)

Images From the Spill

USCG Oil Spill Slide Show

California Department of Fish and Game - Spills and Events: COSCO BUSAN Spill

National Park Service, Golden Gate National Park - Oil Spill in San Francisco Bay


Albers, P.H. 1998. An Annotated Bibliography on Petroleum Pollution. Version 2007. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD (1.6MB PD) - The (360 page) bibliography is based on a personal reference collection exceeding 2,000 citations and growing at an approximate rate of 50 citations per year. It is primarily a collection of published and readily accessible scientific reports appearing in journals, conference proceedings, serial publications, and books.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Oil Spill Resources for the classroom (designed for the teacher to use in the classroom or as background reference material)

Anna Fiolek, Linda Pikula, and Brian Voss. June 2010. Resources on Oil Spills, Response, and Restoration: A Selected Bibliography. 1.3MB PDF file or 3.0MB Word doc. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, National Oceanographic Data Center, Library and Information Services Division.

The National Response Center (Federal contact for reporting oil and chemical spills)

Department of the Interior, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, DOI Emergency Preparedness and Response Strategy: Oil Discharges and Hazardous Substances Releases

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Web Site

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Plan

North Cape (Rhode Island) Oil Spill Restoration

The Tenyo Maru Oil Spill Natural Resource Trustees
Tenyo Maru oil spill Restoration Plan

U.S. Coast Guard: Marine Safety and Environmental Protection Response Information

Environmental Protection Agency: Oil Spill Program

National Response Team: Ensuring Effective National Oil and Hazardous Substance Preparedness and Response

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Office of Response and Restoration

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Damage Assessment and Restoration Program
- Chalk Point/Swanson Creek Oil Spill, Maryland
- Tenyo Maru Oil Spill, Washington
- Apex Houston Oil Spill, California
- Chevron Pipeline Oil Spill, Hawaii
- Tesoro Oil Spill, Hawaii
- Apex Galveston Oil Spill, Texas
- North Cape Oil Spill, Rhode Island
- M/V Kuroshima Oil Spil Restoration Plan

Last updated: January 29, 2015