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$37 Million to Restore Natural Resources Affected by Cosco Busan Oil Spill
Date Posted: September 19, 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.
The trustees, including the California Department of Fish and Game, California State Lands Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management, estimate that the spill killed 6,849 birds, impacted 14 to 29 percent of the herring spawn that winter, oiled 3,367 acres of shoreline habitat, and resulted in the loss of over 1 million recreational user-days.
Approximately $32.3 million will be spent on a wide variety of restoration projects. The trustees will be releasing a Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan, which proposes specific projects to address specific injuries. About $5 million is set aside for bird restoration, $4 million for habitat restoration, $2.5 million for fish and habitat (eelgrass) restoration, and $18.8 million for recreational use improvements. An additional $2 million will fund restoration planning, administration and oversight, with any unused funds to be spent toward more restoration. The plan will be available shortly for public comment.
"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."
Sarah Swenty, USFWS (916) 414-6571
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