Science Spotlight

Science Institute News

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Identifying the Oily “Fingerprint” at CDFW’s Petroleum Chemistry Laboratory

Man wearing white lab coat, clear safety goggles, and green gloves holding graduated cylinder with clear fluid in laboratory setting
You've seen television forensic dramas where sleuths use science to help find a killer. What many don’t know is these same types of similar techniques like fingerprinting can help investigators track down the source of an oil spill.

Enhancement Projects Weed Out Invasives in Marin County

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Sandy dunes along the California coast often feature hardy European beachgrass and a succulent, freeway iceplant, that many assume is part of the native flora. However, these groundcover plants were originally introduced in the 1800s by Gold Rush settlers who were hoping to keep sand from moving to the nearby roads, railroads and land. Today, they are invasive species that out-compete the native plants and the animals that live there.

OSPR Inland Drill

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About 10 environmental scientists from CDFW’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) participated in a large-scale oil spill drill along the Feather River on March 21. The drill was intended to help wildlife response teams prepare for a potential train derailment. OSPR has a long history of oil spill response in marine environments but recently expanded its scope statewide to include inland waters. This Feather River exercise was the first time a substantial wildlife response drill has been held inland, testing responders’ abilities to resolve many operational and technical issues presented by a river spill.