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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
SACRAMENTO FWO: Oil Spill Restoration Agencies Schedule Two Public Meetings to Obtain Public Input
Region 8, January 14, 2008

Meetings Scheduled for Oakland, Jan. 22, and Mill Valley Jan. 29; Meetings are Distinct From Clean-up.

Restoration of the natural resources injured by the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay will be the focus of two public meetings, on Tuesday, Jan. 22 in Oakland and on Tuesday, Jan. 29 in Mill Valley, Calif.

The Jan. 22 Oakland open house will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the First Floor Auditorium in the Elihu M. Harris State Building 1515 Clay Street in Oakland. The Jan. 29 Mill Valley open house will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Cascade Room of the Mill Valley Community Center, 180 El Camino Alto, Mill Valley.

The meetings will be conducted by state and federal trustee agencies (trustees) responsible for restoring the injured resources, after assessing ecological injuries and human use losses caused by the spill. The trustees will brief the public on the restoration process, answer questions and seek information from the public about injuries resulting from the spill.

A primary purpose of the meetings is to provide an opportunity for the public and other organizations to learn about the restoration process and to provide any additional information and data they collected. Because the focus of these meetings is on injury assessment and ultimate restoration, these representatives will not be able to address questions about the immediate response to the spill.

The restoration process is distinct from the initial clean-up activities. As the clean-up work winds down, the injury assessment and restoration process continues. Known as NRDA, or Natural Resource Damage Assessment, the restoration process is a long-term effort to quantify injuries to wildlife and habitat, and loss of human use of natural resources. Trustees from six federal and state agencies will develop a restoration plan both to restore the injured resources and to compensate the public for the injuries to the natural resources and human activities.

The trustees, in cooperation with local cities, counties, and other organizations, are working to assess the ecological injuries and human use losses caused by the spill. Through this process, the trustees will quantify the injuries to wildlife, habitat, and lost use of those resources, and develop a restoration plan. The trustees ultimately will make a claim for funds from the responsible party to implement restoration projects designed to both restore and compensate for the injured resources and human activities.

On the day of the spill, the trustees started working to assess the injuries and to collect time-critical data. Since then, they have been collecting samples, conducting other assessment activities and begun analyzing data. To date, they have identified impacts to birds, mammals, various habitats (including rocky intertidal, sandy beach, salt marsh, and eelgrass), and human uses. During the course of the NRDA, the trustees will attempt to quantify these injuries. The trustees will provide additional information on the status of this ongoing process at the open houses.

The natural resource trustees are:

State of California:

Department of Fish and Game,

State Lands Commission;

Federal:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

National Park Service,

Bureau of Land Management,

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov