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Environmental Response to Oil Spills Training in Santa Barbara, California

OCTOBER 28, 2019 — OR&R’s Emergency Response Division assisted California’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to provide oil spill science training to up-and-coming California spill responders this past week. 

People looking out at a body of water from a grassy area.
Field demonstration of containment boom deployment at the mouth of Devereux Slough at Coil Oil Point Nature Reserve. Also included was discussion of oil skimming operations and challenges of effective oil recovery in sensitive sites including several Threatened and Endangered species. Image credit: NOAA.

The Environmental Response to Oil Spills (EROS) training has been a NOAA/OSPR annual offering for nearly 15 years now; though this is the first time it has been conducted at the Coal Oil Point Nature Reserve.  This area is known as one of the most active natural oil seep areas in the world, is home to a variety of sensitive resources and habitats, and was one of many areas impacted by the Refugio Pipeline oil spill in 2015.

This week’s training included students from EPA, U.S. Coast Guard, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Chumash Tribe, several State agencies, Santa Barbara County Fire, and University of California – Santa Barbara.  The class covered a wide variety of both marine and inland subjects such as agency roles, oil composition, weathering, transport, fingerprinting, and effects;  sensitive resources, cleanup methods, shoreline assessments (Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique or SCAT), environmental trade-offs, cleanup methods & endpoints, Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), oiled wildlife capture and care, and waste management.  In addition, field exercises included boom deployment demonstrations, SCAT activities, and identification of sensitive wildlife and habitats.

For additional information, please contact Jordan Stout.

Return to OR&R Weekly Report.

People on a beach.
Field SCAT demonstration along the beach at Coal Oil Point. Several SCAT teams can be seen assessing the shoreline for kelp material on the beach that served as a training surrogate for oil. Image credit: NOAA.