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CARLSBAD FWO: Carlsbad Office Hosts San Diego Area Contingency Plan Committee Meeting
California-Nevada Offices , March 26, 2008
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Judy Gibson, CFWO’s Field Spill Response Coordinator and Lt.Jereme M. Altendorf, US Coast Guard Sector San Diego. (USFWS Photo)
Judy Gibson, CFWO’s Field Spill Response Coordinator and Lt.Jereme M. Altendorf, US Coast Guard Sector San Diego. (USFWS Photo) - Photo Credit: n/a

The Service’s Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (CFWO) hosted the San Diego Area Contingency Plan (ACP) Committee meeting for the first time March 7, 2008.   In addition to representatives from the Service, participants included the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, California Department of Fish and Game as well as hazardous substance and oil spill prevention and response co-ops, contractors, and non-governmental environmental organizations.

 

Jim Bartel, CFWO Field Supervisor opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.  Stephanie Peck, guest speaker from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography gave a presentation on two science-based support systems:  Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System and the Coastal Ocean Dynamics Applications Radar System.  The second guest speaker, Paul Sanchez from the Marine Spill Response Corporation presented information on tested strategies involving two Environmental Sensitive Sites within the ACP.

 

 The ACP Committee plays a vital role in addressing the removal of oil and hazardous substance discharge from vessels and offshore or onshore facilities operating in or near a particular geographic area.  They were created to help develop, implement and revise the Area Contingency Plan in conjunction with the Regional Contingency Plan and National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP).  The NCP is the federal government's national plan for responding to oil spills and hazardous substance releases.  It also provides a framework for and promotes coordination among the multiple cooperators and contingency plans.

 

The Service actively participates in the ACP process and designates a Field Spill Response Coordinator (FSRC) to serve on the ACP committee.  Judy Gibson, CFWO’s Field Spill Response Coordinator (FSRC) currently serves on this ACP Committee.  During the pre-planning process for spill response, the FSRC provides information on fish and wildlife resources, including habitats, and assists with identifying Environmentally Sensitive Sites for the ACP.  The FSRC also assists with the development of strategies and protective measures, and participates in exercise drills to evaluate the efficacy of these strategies.  This is done to ensure that Service-managed trust resources are addressed. 

 

The Service works with local, state, and federal agencies and stakeholders to pre-plan for joint response efforts conducted during a spill response, including appropriate measures for containment, recovery, cleanup and protection of sensitive environmental areas; and the protection, rescue, and rehabilitation of fish and wildlife.  Furthermore, it participates in exercise drills to evaluate the efficacy of these strategies.

 

Southern California provides a rich diversity of wildlife species and habitats. The Service’s San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, manages habitats for numerous species and other natural resources.  Coastal lagoons also provide a dynamic and rich ecosystem for many species.  Portions of these environmental areas have been identified as Environmental Sensitive Sites and are included within the ACP. We continually seek to conserve and protect natural resources from oil and hazardous releases, including the challenges presented by urbanization, military presence, and development pressures.

 

In 2007, the ACP booming strategy was successfully tested at Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, an Environmentally Sensitive Site.  As a result of this exercise and lessons learned, it became apparent that the strategy needed to be modified to provide a more protective closure for the shore line.  Therefore, in 2008, a goal for CFWO is to see more deployment exercises tested for additional Environmental Sensitive Sites in North County.  Some sites where the ACP strategies could be tested include:  Agua Hedionda, Batiquitos, San Elijo, San Dieguito, or the Los Pensasquitos coastal lagoons. 

 

The CFWO serves a six county area in southern California that includes approximately 18 million people, 100 federally protected species and 12.9 million acres of land. 

 


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



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