Scientists Test Oil Spill Containment Equipment in Mission Bay
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) facilitated an exercise today to test response strategies aimed at protecting environmentally sensitive sites in the event of an oil spill near Mission Bay.
As part of the exercise, OSPR personnel and local oil spill responders stretched 800 feet of orange containment boom across the channel leading into the bay from Mission Point to Hospitality Point. There was no reported spill. These were test procedures to tailor a response and refine the contingency plan to best prevent oil from reaching Mission Bay and the mouth of the San Diego River in the event of a spill.
“Drills like this not only allow us to test these strategies in real-time conditions, but are also good practice opportunities for local oil spill responders,” said OSPR Environmental Scientist Kris Wiese.
Factors such as tidal patterns, currents and weather conditions affect how well boom and other equipment works. Testing a strategy helps experts from OSPR determine whether it is likely to be successful in the event of a spill or needs to be altered.
Pictures from today’s events are available on the OSPR Facebook page.
CDFW’s Sensitive Site Strategy Evaluation Program (SSSEP) evaluates strategies selected from more than 600 sites statewide that are particularly vulnerable to an oil spill. These areas are identified in Area Contingency Plans (ACPs) and are rich in sensitive resources such as fish, birds and marine mammals. Many also include habitat for wildlife breeding, nesting and feeding.
ACPs cover the entire coastline and marine waters of California and include the state’s busiest port areas: San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles/Long Beach and San Diego. More than 50 state, federal and local governments, as well as non-governmental organizations, industry and the general public contribute to ACP development.