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CARLSBAD FWO: San Diego Simulation Helps Sharpen Service's Response to Disasters
California-Nevada Offices , June 30, 2008
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The Service was an integral part of the incident command center during the simulation. From left: Nate J. Cushman Associate Counsel, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest; Captain Karen D. Hill, U.S. Navy (RC) Environmental Counsel, Region Legal Service Office Southwest and Cara McGary, biologist at Carlsbad FWO. (USFWS photo)
The Service was an integral part of the incident command center during the simulation. From left: Nate J. Cushman Associate Counsel, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest; Captain Karen D. Hill, U.S. Navy (RC) Environmental Counsel, Region Legal Service Office Southwest and Cara McGary, biologist at Carlsbad FWO. (USFWS photo) - Photo Credit: n/a
Boom deployment at San Diego Bay. (USFWS photo)
Boom deployment at San Diego Bay. (USFWS photo) - Photo Credit: n/a

Al Donner & Stephanie Weagley

In their everyday work, California's Fish and Wildlife Service biologists routinely take steps to protect and improve the condition of the state's amazingly rich and diverse wildlife and habitat. But lurking just over the horizon is the possibility that a genuinely major disaster might occur, causing devastation to some of the state's rare and imperiled species.

 

Because of this possibility, being prepared is of the utmost importance. Three Service biologists from the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (CFWO), a refuge manager from  San Diego Bay NWRC, plus an external affairs specialist from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office participated in a Coast Guard mock oil spill exercise June 10-12, 2008, in San Diego through The National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (NPREP). NPREP is a federally mandated oil pollution response exercise conducted to ensure adequate emergency preparedness at the highest level of response in the event of a major oil spill. 

 

The NPREP mock exercise lasted three days over a 24 hour period and anticipated the collision of two large ships, 25 miles off the San Diego coast, spilling roughly 100,000 barrels of oil and diesel into the ocean. More than 100 people from half a dozen federal and state agencies and private firms joined in the exercise, which tested and trained staff on how to mobilize quickly to address and minimize impacts of a major spill.

 

Judy Gibson, CFWO field spill response coordinator led the Service‚Äôs team and biologists Tannika Engelhard and Cary McGary joined her in the planning process on how to minimize impacts to wild species and help them recover from the spill as quickly as possible. Don Brubaker, refuge manager at Tijuana Slough and San Diego Bay NWR, served in the role as responder for the refuge complex. External Affairs Specialist Al Donner joined in helping the spill response teams plan how to get useful information to the public and capitalize on local volunteer resources.

 

"We are better prepared to respond quickly if a real spill occurs, due to this exercise," said Gibson. "Any emergency is likely to be a disaster of some magnitude, but with the experience we gained, I think California's Fish and Wildlife Service personnel are in a better position to minimize impacts on our wildlife."

 

"The Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office takes a proactive approach to spill response," said CFWO Deputy Project Leader Scott Sobiech. "The lessons learned from this exercise will help ensure impacts to our trust resources are avoided or minimized to the extent practicable during a possible disaster response."

 

 


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



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