SSEP Reports

This page is intended as an informational tool only and is being made available as a public service. While intended for improving the fields of oil spill response, containment, and cleanup and oil spill wildlife rehabilitation in marine waters and marine oil transportation systems, the COSSEP reports and publications should not be interpreted as policy or best practices for the CDFW/OSPR. While CDFW/OSPR does an internal peer review on these reports, we do not necessarily support, sanction, or verify the information contained in the reports and publications, and does not guarantee the accuracy, quality, completeness, or validity of any information contained in the reports or publications. The views, opinions, conclusions, techniques, methods, product identifications, and endorsements expressed, discussed, or described in these reports and publications are those of the respective author(s), and do not necessarily represent those of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response (CDFW/OSPR). Any reliance upon or use of information from the posted COSSEP reports and publications is done at your own risk, and CDFW/OSPR is not responsible for any injury or damages resulting therefrom. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by CDFW/OSPR of the external web sites or the information, products or services contained therein.

SSEP Reports by Year


Report Name Description Report Link
Evaluation of Subchronic and Developmental Toxicity of the Dispersant Corexit EC9500A  This project used acute toxicity tests on the dispersant Corexit 9500A and dispersant/oil mixtures, and sub-chronic purple sea urchin and red abalone embryo-larval toxicity tests on dispersants only, based on the proposed revisions to Subpart J of the National Contingency Plan.  The objective was to develop test methods that could be used by both EPA and CDFW for testing and listing cleanup agents. The toxicity tests revealed that red abalone was the most sensitive test organism. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Improving Oil Detection Capability Using a Portable, UAS-based SCAT Reconnaissance System CDFW OSPR is advancing its use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) for Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) operations during oil spill response for both marine and inland spills. This project incorporated advanced sensors and detection algorithms to help responders identify oiled areas. The system used CDFW’s existing multispectral camera and added cameras with ultraviolet and thermal infrared wavelengths, and custom software to process the data. In addition to surveying hard-to-reach areas, trials showed that the near infrared and thermal infrared bands were most effective in detecting oiled substrate.  Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Measuring Laboratory Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) from Oil Spills Using Talitrid Amphipods OSPR evaluated uptake of oil components in sandy beach environments by talitrid amphipods to determine oil exposure pathways and effects. In these laboratory experiments, talitrids were exposed to oil in sand and kelp, which is known as “wrack” and is their primary food source. Exposure to oil reduced talitrid feeding rates. Exposure to oiled sand alone resulted in higher tissue PAH concentrations in talitrids than oiled kelp alone. These data may be used to inform future beach cleanup. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)


Report Name Description Report Link
Bioassessment of Non-Perennial Streams Affected by Oil and Gas Extraction This study examined how stresses related to oil production affect a dry stream ecosystem near Bakersfield, California, by characterizing arthropod (beetles) and bryophyte (mosses) assemblages along a gradient of increasing disturbance (e.g., oil-field cover area, well counts) from upstream oil and gas extraction. The abundance of mosses increased with stress, while richness of some arthropod species (especially beetles) decreased at stressed sites. These changes may be related to increased fine sediments and nutrients from wastewater discharges. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)


Report Name Description Report Link
Restoration Field Guide; A User Friendly Guide for Restoration Techniques in Riparian Habitats
(SSEP 2009-08)
The purpose of this field guide is to share the experiences of the Land Conservancy staff and other restoration organizations gained during implementation of restoration projects so fellow project coordinators can better plan construction projects. It is not intended to be a comprehensive restoration manual, but rather a user-friendly guide to specific field restoration techniques and trouble-saving tips. The concepts presented here are field tested, and will help users prepare for and solve common problems that may arise during a project. This guide will be useful for complex riparian restoration projects, including damaged riparian habitat that may need restoration after emergency response procedures, such as oil spill cleanup in a stream. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
The Suitability of a Variety of Particulate Sorbents as Spill Response Tools
(SSEP 2009-07)
This study compared ten oil sorbent products made of peat moss, agricultural cellulose, recycle material cellulose, mineral dust, and polymer plastic for the ability to adsorb and/or absorb Alaska North Slope oil and reduce the immediate and longer term potential of oiling feather and fur bearing animals, and minimize contamination of shore vegetation. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Quantifying the effect of rehabilitation pen coverings on the behavior of captive seabirds
(SSEP 2009-06)
Poor ventilation contributes to the development of aspergillosis, a frequent cause of morbidity and mortality in oiled seabirds. A recent study funded by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network found ventilation was increased in rehabilitation pens covered with shade cloth when compared to traditional coverings (i.e., bed sheet or blanket) (Massey, 2007). Because shade cloth is less opaque than these other coverings, it may induce greater stress due to visual contact with rehabilitators and the surrounding environment. This study will use a cross-over design to test the responses of 10 common murres (Uria aalge) rehabilitated at the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center (SFBOWCEC) and 10 Western grebes (Aechmorphorus occidentalis) captured as part of a separate research project. Behavioral responses to three different stimuli will be recorded while birds are individually housed in pens covered with shade cloth and bed sheets. Birds’ responses will be used to determine the least stressful type of covering. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Chronic Oil and Seabirds
(SSEP 2009-05)
The goal of this study was to determine trends and sources of chronic oiling and other mortality factors affecting marine birds in central California, and provide this information to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response (CDFG-OSPR). Our results indicate chronic oiling is the cause of 1 to 4% of annual mortality of marine birds in central CA. Species groups most affected by chronic oiling were alcids, loons, grebes, cormorants, pelican, procellarids, phalaropes, and gulls; these same species are also those most affected by catastrophic oil spills. We found several other mortality factors which continue to affect CA seabirds, including fishery entanglement, trauma, biotoxins, and to a lesser extent, plastic ingestion. We found that demographic impacts of oiling events depend upon the season in which the oil spill occurs. Winter events such as Luckenbach spills affected first year birds more than adults whereas late summer and fall spills (e.g, Kure, Stuyvesant) affected more adults than expected. These results may be useful in determining population-level impacts of both chronic and catastrophic oiling events in the future and designing appropriate mitigation plans. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Field Testing a Surgical Technique for Intracoelomic Satellite Transmitters with Percutaneous Antennae to Assess Post-Release Survival and Movement of Western Grebes
(SSEP 2009-03)

We used a captive-tested surgical procedure to implant Western Grebes with intracoelomic satellite transmitters with percutaneous antennae to field test this technique as well as to gain more information on winter site fidelity and migration. Birds were captured in early December 2010 in San Francisco Bay, California and implanted with transmitters. Nine birds survived surgery and were released, and with the exception of one bird, all survived at least 25 days suggesting a lack of surgery-related complications for 8 of the birds. However the 44-56% mortality seen within the first year post-surgery is believed to be related to the transmitter or antenna and necessitates more work before this surgical technique is used widely. Post-release winter movement of released birds showed that birds mostly remained within San Francisco Bay suggesting high winter site fidelity.

Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Relative Toxicity of Weathered Prudhoe Bay Crude Oil and Dispersed Oil on Spawning Topsmelt (Atherinops Affinis)
(SSEP 2009-02)
This study examined the relative toxicities of physically- and chemically-dispersed weathered Prudhoe Bay Crude Oil (PBCO) on topsmelt (Atherinops affinis). This species was selected because it is a dominant fish species in California estuaries and bays, and based on its ecological relevance, it is an appropriate indicator for risk of oil spills to fish populations in the San Francisco Estuary. The study assessed toxicity of the water-accommodated fraction of physically-dispersed oil (WAF) and chemically-dispersed oil (CEWAF) on spawning adult topsmelt, as well as on the developing embryos of this species. The study incorporated metabolomic analyses of tissues from adult and embryonic life stages to provide biomarker information on sublethal effects of hydrocarbons on topsmelt. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)


Report Name Description Report Link
Natural Oil Seeps (Santa Paula Creek Seep)
(SSEP 2008-09)
The January 2005 Ventura Oiled Bird Incident (VOBI) was among the most devastating of oiled bird incidents ever handled by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife – Office of Spill Prevention and Response (DFG-OSPR), and ranked seventh in total bird casualties along the Command Incident with at least 1500 birds dead or injured ( Unlike most of the spills to which OSPR responds, which are related to oil production, this incident was concluded to be the result of a catastrophic release of a large but unknown quantity of oil from natural terrestrial sources in Santa Paula Creek (SPC), a tributary to the SCR near Thomas Aquinas College, more than 22 miles from the Pacific Ocean. We propose that the cause of the VOBI was related to anthropogenic activities and structures associated with Hwy 150. Please contact OSPR for a copy of the report appendices.  Final Report Volume 1 (PDF)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)

Final Report Volume 2 (PDF)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Digital Image Technology
(SSEP 2008-08)
Digital video may be especially useful for aerial surveys of large murre colonies where sometimes more than 100 photographs are counted to obtain complete coverage (e.g., Farallon Islands, Castle Rock NWR). Our first objective for this project is to test the use of high-definition digital video for surveying breeding colonies of murres and cormorants. Additionally, recent advancements in digital recognition software and automated counting technology suggest that it is worthwhile to investigate their potential for use in seabird colony counts. Therefore, our second objective for this project is to investigate whether the technology for automated counting of murres and cormorants exists and whether that technology is appropriate and affordable for surveys of breeding colonies of cormorants and murres. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Effectiveness of Larger-Area Exclusion Booming to Protect Sensitive Sites in San Francisco Bay
(SSEP 2008-07 b)
This study examined the potential benefits of adding alternative booming to certain areas of concern in San Francisco Bay, sites that had particular natural or socioeconomic resources that would merit additional protection during a spill, if only seasonally. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Transport and Impacts of Oil Spills in San Francisco Bay – Implications for Response
(SSEP 2008-07 a)
Oil spill modeling was used to predict transport and potential areas of impact for spills originating in San Francisco Bay. Probabilistic modeling predicted the likelihood of oil reaching various areas of the bay, coastal waters and shorelines, as well as the time history of these movements, indicating the timing of response activities required to combat the spill. In a paired study (Etkin et al., 2009), consequences of response alternatives were evaluated for specific scenarios selected from these modeling results to assess the potential reductions in shoreline oiling associated with various protective shoreline booming strategies. In Phase 1 of the study, we examined spills of heavy fuel originating at three locations (1) near the San Francisco docks, (2) at Richmond Long Wharf, and (3) at Martinez in Carquinez Strait. In Phase 2, we examined spills of crude, heavy fuel, and diesel originating at two locations (1) near the San Francisco docks and (2) at Martinez in Carquinez Strait. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Response of Water Birds to Hazing with a Laser
(SSEP 2008-06)
The use of lasers to prevent oiling of waterbirds at a spill is a new concept. Little is known how some species that could occur at a spill would respond. The objectives of this study were to: 1) identify species that respond to the laser, 2) document the immediate response of waterbirds to the laser, 3) determine if laser treatment during the early evening reduces bird numbers over the course of a night, and 4) determine if the laser treatment has any lasting effect over the short term after treatment has ended. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Evaluation of a Floating Bird Diverter
(SSEP 2008-05)
Hazing at oil spills can reduce bird mortalities. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the FireFly Pond DiverterTM (FireFly Diverters LLC, Grantsville, UT), a device that floats on the water and is claimed to use motion, reflectivity, and ultraviolet (UV) and visible light emissions to alert and repel birds. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
PISCES II Model Simulation of Oil Spills and Protection Strategies
(SSEP 2008-04)
PISCES II Computer Simulation Exercises of Protection Strategies for Selected Environmentally Sensitive Sites on the California Coast This project uses the PISCES II computer simulation software as a test platform to evaluate the effectiveness of environmentally sensitive site protection strategy boom and skimmer deployment plans. Absent actual oil on water to test the likely effectiveness of planned protection strategies, we utilize the PISCES II simulation software to evaluate the potential effectiveness of planned boom and skimmer placement at a number of sites in California that are at risk of oil spills. The simulation results can point out potential weaknesses in strategies or provide a measure of confidence in existing strategies under various conditions. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Development and Evaluation of Remote Sensing and Portable GIS Technologies in a Real-Time Oil Spill Detection and Response System.
(SSEP 2008-03)
This project builds upon previous developments achieved during an initial OSPR SSEP project, and concurrent oil spill thickness imaging research funded by the Minerals Management Service, to allow near-real-time generation of digital GIS oil map products and their dissemination through a system that provides rapid access to oil spill locations, extents and thickness distributions derived through satellite and aerial remote sensing. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
The Benefits, Particularly to Furred and Feathered Wildlife, of the Use of Biodegradable, Particulate Sorbent in Spill Response
(SSEP 2008-02)
This study evaluated one particulate sorbent product made from peat moss for its ability to absorb crude and diesel oils and reduce the immediate and longer term potential of oiling feather- and fur-bearing animals, and minimize contamination of shore vegetation. This investigation successfully proved two hypotheses. A) Applying a biodegradable particulate sorbent (peat dust) to petroleum-contaminated marsh vegetation, sand or fresh water did immediately render the petroleum less sticky to fur and feathers. B) Petroleum products composed of chemicals of different molecular weights, e.g., crude or diesel #2 oils, did adhere differently to bird feathers and mammal fur. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Sublethal Effects of the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon, Naphthalene, on Japanese Quail and Mallard Duck Hatchlings
(SSEP 2008-01)
The objective of the study was to understand how polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contribute to the adverse effects observed in birds exposed to petroleum. The toxicity profile of naphthalene in birds is not well characterized and this severely limits ecological risk assessment for this receptor group. Previously we observed adverse effects of naphthalene on body weights and kidney weights of adult Japanese quail following chronic (14 wk) exposure. The purpose of this study was to extend these observations to growing quail chicks and mallard ducklings. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)


Report Name Description Report Link


Data on the health effects of dispersed oil on the life cycle of the endangered Chinook salmon is needed to adequately evaluate the impact from the use of oil dispersants in the SF bay area and inland waters. A final report will present the results of toxicity test.  The results could aid in the preparation of a dispersant use plan in California. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Removal of Fish Oil from Rehabilitation Pools Using a Portable Water Filtration System (SSEP 2007-06) The amount of fish oil waste and wastewater generated in seabird rehabilitation pools needs to be reduced to: 1. Prevent contamination of feathers by re-circulated water, and 2. Lower the costs associated with generating wastewater. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of using a custom designed portable filtration unit to remove varying volumes of fish oil from a marine rehabilitation pool. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Brown Pelican Roost Site Atlas:  A Database and Management Tool for the California Coast
(SSEP 2007-05)
The endangered California brown pelican has been studied extensively. However, no comprehensive statewide database or mapping project has adequately documented pertinent data necessary for oil spill response, NRDA, and agency personnel. Databases for paper and electronic atlases to aid in wildlife recovery, NRDA, and restoration following marine oil spills will be developed. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)

Appendix (PDF)(opens in new tab)
A Potential Restoration Approach for Sandy Beaches Impacted by Oil Spill and Cleanup Activities
(SSEP 2007-04)
Cleanup activities often require removal of the majority of wrack from the intertidal beach habitat. If the hypothesis of this study is supported by the experimental results, the addition of wrack could be used to enhance the recovery (restoration) of wrack-dependent organisms of intertidal beach communities impacted by oil spills & associated cleanup actions, & provide prey needed by a wide variety of shorebirds, including more wrack-dependent species such as the Western Snowy Plover. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Spatial Distributions and Long-term Population Trends in the Seabird Population of Central California
(SSEP 2007-03)
This project augments an ongoing OSPR SSEP project by analyzing, then adding 20 years of existing “Glenn Ford” data on seabird abundance, previously unavailable to OSPR. The additional data will fill a critical gap in our knowledge of past and current trends, as well as provide insight into what may be affecting seabird populations. The 20 years of data will be incorporated into the marine wildlife CD-ROM, and a scientific paper will document the findings. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Sea Otter Decoy Aerial Count Study
(SSEP 2007-02)
Aerial survey data is affected by different viewing conditions such as flight speed, height, corridor width, sea conditions, cloud cover, and other factors.  This project will analyze sea otter decoy survey data with wind velocity, cloud cover, corridor width, and viewer elevation as variables, and develop a model which generates a distribution (with associated confidence limits) of possible decoy population size estimates for the varying viewing conditions encountered.  The results will be useful for interpreting real sea otter aerial survey data. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Physical Effects of Chemically & Physically Dispersed Oil on Wildlife
(SSEP 2007-01)
A widely held assumption concerning the use of dispersants is that chemical dispersion of oil will dramatically reduce the impacts to seabirds and aquatic species, primarily by reducing their exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons. However, there is no conclusive information regarding the impacts of dispersed oil and dispersants on the waterproofing properties of fur and feathers. This assumption and lack of information makes it important in evaluating environmental trade offs associated with the use of dispersants.
This study is designed to begin evaluating the effect of dispersed oil on fur and feathers by: 1. designing a system to expose fur and feathers to dispersant and dispersed oil; 2. quantifying TPH levels on individual feathers and hair; 3. assessing structural changes to feathers and hair associated with dispersant and/or oil exposure; and 4. evaluating dose-response relationship in these results with differing levels of dispersant and/or oil.
Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)


Report Name Description Report Link
Central Coast Marine Bird Health Study: Year 3
(SSEP 2006-08)
Tthis study will help provide a stable level of support for marine bird mortality investigations leading to a systematic approach to marine bird health assessments in California. Data will: 1. Aid in developing adaptive management priorities for seabirds, 2. Facilitate the use of seabirds as indicators of natural and human-related changes in the marine environment, 3. Monitor trends in disease, survivorship, and population, and 4. Provide baseline health data, all of which contribute to increasing our knowledge base, skill sets, & technological abilities in OSPR science and technologies. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Effects of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Ingestion on Japanese Quail
(SSEP 2006-07)
The investigators will evaluate pathological, hematological, and reproductive effects in the quail and determine threshold doses at which these effects occur.  The results of this study will provide an important tool for predicting long term injuries to avian species from oil spills. The final product will be a written report, which will support NRDA assessment work, and be a significant contribution to the scientific literature. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Pre-spill Assessments of Coastal Habitat Resources: Volume I: Development of Protocols, assessment kits
(SSEP 2006-06)
Go-kits would be develoed specifically for habitat (e.g., sandy beaches, rocky shores, and wetlands).  The go-kits would contain equipment, worksheets, and instructions necessary to conduct the various sampling protocols.  The go-kits will provide a standard and consistent method to be used when evaluating the effects of oil on wildlife. Volume 1 (PDF)(opens in new tab)

Volume 2 (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Protection of Least Terns During an Oil Spill
(SSEP 2006-05)
This experiment would deploy readily purchased and available plastic swimming pools filled with water and fish in the proximity of a known Least Tern colony to evaluate the effectiveness of attracting terns to the pools, and away from a hypothetical oil spill.  If successful, this simple and relatively low cost diversion method could be used as a tool to protect endangered terns during a spill. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Coastal Biophysical Inventory of Marine Resources
(SSEP 2006-04)
Field surveys and sampling of flora and fauna were conducted to evaluate the distribution, abundance, and range of coastal natural resources along approximately 110 miles of coastline within the Point Reyes National Seashore, Tomales Bay State Park, Golden Gate NRA, and Angel Island State Park. The baseline data collected was made available in a spatially explicit database, which can then be used as a reference for use in spill response, NRDA efforts, or other projects.
This database can be mailed to persons requesting it on a dual layer DVD to accommodate the size of the program and data. Please send these requests to Bruce Joab, at 916-322-7561 or
<-- See Instructions
Estimating the Abundance and Distribution of Marbled Murrelets
(SSEP 2006-03)
Aerial and at-sea boat surveys will be conducted to assess relative efficacy of each method for detecting Marbled Murrelets. The data will add to our knowledge of coastal murrelet distribution and concentration, which will aid in decision-making abilities on the use of dispersants at sea, and use of at-sea and aerial surveys for evaluating injury in NRDA cases. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Use of Sand Crabs to Monitor Petroleum Contamination
(SSEP 2006-02)
Sand Crabs can be used to monitor sandy beaches for petroleum contamination. This study will determine the depuration rate of petroleum by Sand Crabs, and if oil extracted from the crabs can be “fingerprinted” to a specific contamination source. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
TPH Test Kit: Validation of RaPID Assay
(SSEP 2006-01)
This study will evaluate the ability of these test kits to perform in real-world environmental conditions. OSPR response and NRDA personnel may use the kits to increase efficiency of on-scene sample collection and analysis.  Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)


Report Name Description Report Link
Dispersed Oil Monitoring Plan (DOMP)
(SSEP 2005-08)
Applied dye plumes will be tracked as a simulated oil spill, and it’s observed trajectory will be compared with computer model simulation predictions. Stratified ocean samples will also be collected to determine the vertical extent of water column impacted by the dye plume. Determining the vertical extent of a simulated oil plume (by evaluating dye concentrations at different strata in the water column) will provide data for extrapolating to real oil plume contamination, and potential toxicity to water column biota. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)

Appendix (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Oiled Wildlife Infrared Camera Study
(SSEP 2005-07)
Use infrared thermography to document loss of insulation of sea otters, other marine mammals, marine birds under spill and experimental conditions, and potentially for environments impacted by oil spills. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
ESI Map Updates
(SSEP 2005-06)
More comprehensive and up to date ESI maps for Central California for use in spills, NRDA and other natural resource protection plans and projects , were developed. The link on the right will bring you to the NOAA ERMA site where you may access the Central California as well as other layers of the ESI map data, along with many other layers of information. No login is required. Once at the NOAA site, Click on the layer on the right named “Natural Resources, Habitats, & Managed Areas”, then “Central California (NOAA ESI 2006)” as this is the sub-layer that contains the ESI maps partially funded by SSEP. NOAA ERMA Southwest Site
Using Radar Satellite Imagery to Track Oil Spills (aka: California Pollution Watch and Target Detection) (SSEP 2005-05) SAR radar surveillance and monitoring of oceanic conditions will develop methods and tools for tracking and evaluating oil spills and impacted sensitive environments. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Compilation of At-Sea Seabird Survey Data for California
(SSEP 2005-04)
Seabirds are highly variable in their spatial and seasonal distributions, and it is impossible to predict their abundance without access to large datasets compiled over the years by a number of different investigators.   These data can be of great value for planning for real time oil spill response, and for NRDA damage assessment. Software Download(opens in new tab)

User's Guide(opens in new tab)

Appendix(opens in new tab)
Analysis and Publication of the Results of Studies on the Fates of Beachcast Birds: Scavenging, Rewash, and Searcher Efficiency
(SSEP 2005-03)
Not all beachcast bird carcasses remain on beaches and not all that remain are discovered by oil spill response personnel. Some carcasses are removed by animal scavengers, some swept from the beach by waves and deposited elsewhere, some sink, and some remaining carcasses are not found despite the efforts of search crews. Understanding these factors is critical when evaluating injuries from an oil spill.
The objective is to quantify the extent to which animal scavenging and wave re-wash remove bird carcasses from beaches, and to estimate the percentage of the remaining birds that are found or missed by searchers. The beach type, size and coloration of the bird, and method of beach search, will be among the variables examined.
Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Common Murre Population Recovery from Oil Spills: An Investigation of Demographic Parameters and Density Dependency
(SSEP 2005-02)
Develop estimates of key demographic parameters for Common Murres in central California including: (1) survival of breeding adults from year to year, (2) survival of non-breeding sub-adults from fledging to recruitment, (3) age at first breeding during recruitment, (4) breeding propensity (the probability of breeding once breeding has been initiated), (5) age-dependent reproductive success (fecundity), and (6) immigration and emigration.
These data are critical to accurate NRDAs.  Additionally, this project will provide to OSPR a review of past literature examining and evaluating evidence for and against density-dependence as an important demographic process among seabird populations. 
Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Acute and chronic effects of crude and dispersed oil on Chinook Salmon Smolts (ONCORHYNCHUS TSHAWYTSCHA)
(SSEP 2005-01)
Data on the health effects of dispersed oil on the life cycle of the endangered Chinook Salmonis needed to adequately evaluate the impact from the use of oil dispersants in the SF bay area and inland waters. A final report will present results of the toxicity test. The results could aid in the preperation of a dispersant use plan in California. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)


Report Name Description Report Link
Natural & Human Oil & Gas Seeps at Summerland Assessing Risks with Potential Mitigation Strategies
(SSEP 2004-06)
By demonstrating that oil seeps and well leakages are interconnected, OSPR can assess the appropriateness of mitigation strategies which risk increasing emissions, or creating new leaks in areas more ecologically sensitive or of greater public use.
This study will explain why slicks sometimes are more severe than at other times and presents an approach to predict when slicks and oil are most likely to impact human activities and the ecosystem. Finally, oil from oil-saturated sand relates to mitigation strategies for leaking wells and preparedness for accidental oil spills from sunken boats.
Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Integration of Satellite Imagery with Surface Current Mapping Radar in Near Real Time
(SSEP 2004-05)
The objective of this project is to develop methods for correlating satellite imagery with surface current velocity vectors in near real time to produce a tool for improved understanding of surface circulation.
This information will provide OSPR with new tools based on the fusion of emerging capabilities to respond to oil spills, and to use the products for training and prediction. In addition, development of these products now based on the existing SMC arrays will insure that the proposed COCMP SCM network is developed and implemented with OSPR needs in mind.
Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Investigating the Thermoregulatory Physiology of Washing Sea Otters
(SSEP 2004-04)
To determine the influence of washing, rinsing, and recovery process on core body temperature, other measures of heat loss and homeostasis, and on behavior, food intake and water repellency of fur in otherwise normal sea otters.
Implications include: 1) reducing associated oil spill response time and costs, 2) improving the care and welfare of oiled sea otters, 3) improving post spill survival and enhancing potential recovery of an ESA listed species, 4) improving medical and physiological knowledge pertinent to oil spills, and 5) exercising and improving OSPR’s response capabilities for oiled marine mammals.
Washing Oiled Sea Otters(opens in new tab)
Identify the Location of Debris Accumulation on San Francisco Bay Shorelines
(SSEP 2004-03)
The amount of debris on a shoreline is an indicator of where oil is likely to go in the future, and will provide information useful in prioritizing shorelines for protection strategy deployment. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Development and Evaluation of a Cost-effective Aerial Imaging System for Oil Spill and Coastal Impact Monitoring
(SSEP 2004-02)
To detect and precisely map marine and terrestrial oil spills and seeps, and to monitor the environmental effects of oil impacted soils using UV/Vis/IR sensors and Synthetic Aperture Radars (SARs). An aerial imagining system will provide useful and cost-effective information tool for multiple OSPR applications including routine surveillance, law enforcement, aid in oil spill recovery operations, and long-term monitoring of remedial actions. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)
Monitoring Dispersant Applications
(SSEP 2004-01)
The objective of this work is to develop an approach to monitor and evaluate impacts to aquatic organisms after a spill where dispersants are used or contemplated The information gained from such a plan is needed to evaluate natural resource impacts which will be useful for NRDA and could potentially effect decision making during future spills. Final Report (PDF)(opens in new tab)

Appendix (PDF)(opens in new tab)


Peter Boucher

Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Mailing: P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 375-8580 for OSPR Information

Report Oil Spills
(800) 852-7550 or (800) OILS-911

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