Every Bird Matters
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Posts Tagged ‘bay’

January 26, 2010

Cosco Busan bird toll update; Plovers survive spill

A new federal bird report on the damage caused by a 2007 San Francisco Bay oil spill says the endangered Snowy Plover survived the spill in good numbers, but other species weren’t so lucky.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report says at least 6,700 ducks, loons, cormorants, gulls, pelicans and other birds were probably killed by the bunker fuel that spilled from the Cosco Busan Nov. 7, 2007. The container ship was being escorted by a pilot boat in heavy early morning fog when it side-swiped the Bay Bridge support structure.

The bird death toll was determined by multiplying the known bird body count by a factor of roughly 2.3.

According to the report, a 2.3 figure was computed by studying how long bird carcasses laid on beaches, how hard they were to find and how many of the deaths were caused by factors unrelated to the oil spill.

The good news is that nearly all Bay Area snowy plovers — tiny white-and-brown birds that nest in sand dunes and are listed federally as a threatened species — survived the deadly oil spill. The oil spread from Oakland and Alameda waters out the Golden Gate and closed beaches in San Francisco and Marin Counties.

IBRRC was one of the lead organizations responding to the spill and treated over 1,000 birds in its Northern California OWCN wildlife rescue center.

Birds killed due to 2007 Cosco Busan accident:

1,632 Diving ducks, including scoters and scaup
87 Loons
1,133 Western, Clark’s and other large grebes
494 Eared, horned and other small grebes
129 Northern fulmars
484 Cormorants
215 Gulls
21 Brown pelicans
609 Common murres
13 Marbled murrelets
130 Other members of the alcid family
1,421 Shorebirds
318 Other marsh or land birds

6,688 Total

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner

Photos courtesy:

Oiled Surf Scoter in Alameda. (Photo: Glenn Tepke)

Snowy Plover along shore (Photo: Tom Grey)

November 1, 2009

Update on San Francisco Bay oil spill response

Dozens of oiled birds were rescued Saturday as crews searched beaches and estuaries looking for birds caught up in Friday morning’s spill on San Francisco Bay. See: Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN).

One of the biggest collection points is in Alameda at Crown Memorial State Beach just southeast of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge where the Dubai Star leaked bunker oil during a refueling operation. Coast Guard reported 400 to 800 gallons of very toxic bunker oil spilled about 2 1/2 miles south of the bridge.

From OWCN’s blog this morning:

The first oiled birds that we sighted included a Western Grebe, an Eared Grebe, and a Surf Scoter. These birds were active and we could not catch them. By about 1400-1500, we had our first oiled birds beaching themselves along the Alameda shoreline, especially along the Crown Beach area. One thing that we really appreciated is that many people heeded the warning notices and did not walk on their neighborhood beaches, instead letting us walk the beach trying to catch birds. Quiet beaches allow for the birds to settle down and this is the point where we can come in and catch them.

At one section of Crown Beach we caught over 10 oiled American Coots and even some oiled shorebirds. By 1600, we had a load of birds in one of the OWCN trucks headed for our primary treatment facility, the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center, by Cordelia. Some of these birds were heavily oiled and needed rapid treatment.

Tomorrow will undoubtedly be a very busy day for us. We will have at least eight teams of trained responders out on the beaches trying to capture any oiled wildlife that we might encounter. Additionally, we will have a team of US Fish and Wildlife responders and their boat out with us, as well as members of the Golden Gate Audubon doing reconnaissance work around the shores of San Francisco. They will help us by keeping an eye out for birds in distress in areas that we are not getting to regularly because there is no reported oil in those locations.

– Nils Warnock, OWCN Field Operations Specialist

If you find any oiled wildlife, please immediately contact 1.877.UCD.OWCN (1-877-823-6926).

We’ll update folks when we know more.

March 26, 2008

Timeline of Cosco Busan spill: First 90 minutes

This is a timeline of the Cosco Busan spill. It shows how fast things happen after an oil spill – and why acting quickly is important. The Nov. 7, 2007 spill put 53,569 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay.

Here are the first 90 minutes:

8:30 a.m.: Harbor pilot Capt. John Cota, guiding the 900-foot Cosco Busan out of port, notifies vessel traffic service that the ship “touched” a Bay Bridge pier.

8:37: Spill first reported by president of Bar Pilots Association; details scant.

8:54: Cota calls U.S. Coast Guard, reports ship discharging fuel.

8:55: New pilot boards Cosco Busan, replacing Cota.

9 a.m.: Deadline under state law for ship’s crew to place four phone calls reporting spill.

9:03: Coast Guard vessel under way to the ship carrying its own spill investigator.

9:05: First cleanup contractor learns of accident from a third party.

9:10: Contractor dispatches first two cleanup vessels; San Francisco Fire Department calls Coast Guard to offer aid, is turned away.

9:15: Cosco Busan crew makes first required phone call about spill, to its owner-representative.

9:17: Replacement pilot calls second cleanup contractor, leaves message.

9:18: Second contractor calls back, is told spill is about 400 gallons.

9:23: Pilot reports ship is no longer leaking fuel.

9:30: First contractor on scene. Reports heavy fog but finds no oil.

9:35: Contractor smells oil and reports “heavy sheen” on water.

9:42: State Office of Emergency Services notified of spill by ship’s owner-representative.

9:45: State oil spill expert arrives at Yerba Buena Island command center, begins three-hour wait to board Cosco Busan.

9:50: Coast Guard pollution investigator boards Cosco Busan.

10 a.m.: Contractor gets approval to begin skimming oil.

Source: U.S. Coast Guard Incident Specific Preparedness Review committee report, Jan. 11.

– From the Sacramento Bee

March 15, 2008

April NTSB public hearing in DC on SF oil spill

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will hold a two-day public hearing Cosco Busan oil spill that dumped around 55,000 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay after striking the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The hearing will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8 at the NTSB’s Board Room and Conference Center, 429 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, D.C.

The hearing is part of the NTSB’s ongoing investigation into the accident that involved the 900-foot Cosco Busan container ship that struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on November 7, 2007. The board hopes to learn more about why Coast Guard and state officials were so slow to react and report the spill that killed more than 2,500 birds.

The hearing will be webcast. An agenda and webcast details will be posted on the Board’s website, http://www.ntsb.gov, when available.

December 21, 2007

Good riddance: Cosco Busan sails out of port

Chased by lawsuits, the Cosco Busan ship that side-swiped the San Francisco Bay Bridge, finally headed back to South Korea.

The ship sailed out of San Francisco on a crsytal clear day on Thursday morning. Numerous lawsuits will follow the owners of the ship, including a big lawsuit filed by the city of San Francisco.

The Hong Kong based Cosco Busan spilled 58,000 gallons of toxic bunker fuel into the San Francisco Bay after it struck the bridge on November 7, 2007. Nearly 2,500 birds were killed in the spill.

It had been at a Pier 70 ship repair yard to fix the 230-foot gash in its port side. Regal Stone, the owner of the 900-foot ship, put up a $80 million note to cover the maritime release bond. Most of that bond will help pay the total cleanup costs on the spill which have been estimated at more than $60 million.

(Coast Guard photo of the gash; Yes it’s been repaired)

November 19, 2007

Richardson Bay Audubon’s spill response

There’s a great video report on the efforts to rescue oiled birds by th folks at Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Santuary. The video includes a first person account from Brooke Langston, who is the center’s director.

If you haven’t visited this area of San Francisco Bay, I recommend it. It’s an important feeding area for migratory birds. The Sanctuary’s 900 acres are closed to boating and other public use from Oct 1 – March 31. Birders get a first hand look at the amazing diversity up of birdlife up near Tiburon.

The tremendous damage to the San Francisco Bay from the November 7th oil spill will be with us for some time. But it’s comforting to know the group’s like this have been doing their part in search and collection and will continue to monitor the the fragile bay.

See the video report

See the Richardson Bay center’s website

November 17, 2007

Oil spill coverage: SF Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle staff has done a remarkable job covering the SF Bay Spill.

I recommend checking out the online version of its printed paper. Remember those? They cost 50 cents and used to get ink smudges everywhere. Until they switched to soy based inks…but I digress.

Spill coverage

November 9, 2007

Dark day on San Francisco Bay

The staff here at International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) has been working non-stop for the three days rescuing as many oiled birds as possible. So far, the center in Cordelia has more than 70 birds in care.

Check out the disturbing photos on SF Chronicle’s website

The culprit of this spill is the Cosco Busan. It’s a container ship that struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 causing 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil to dump into the bay. It was heading out to sea when the accident happened.

IBRRC was quickly alerted by mid day on Wednesday to the potential of oiled animals. As a major partner in the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), we had staff members on the water and shoreline surveying the damage to wildlife.

As spill is coating birds and other wildlife. Unless these birds are rescued soon, the oil spill potentially will endanger the lives of thousands of birds that live in and migrate through these coastal waters.

Check our website is http://www.ibrrc.org