NorCal Bird Center Deploys to Gulf - NBC Bay Area

NorCal Bird Center Deploys to Gulf

Workers To Help Wildlife After Oil Spill



    NorCal Bird Center Deploys to Gulf
    Justin Sullivan
    One of the birds from the Cosco Busan oil spill in 2007.

    Fifteen workers have already been deployed and dozens more are on standby at the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia to help birds injured in a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The spill, which resulted from an April 20 oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana, may lead to the center's biggest rescue effort outside of California.

    "The weather has really hampered attempts to initiate a search and collection effort for oiled birds," Executive Director Jay Holcomb wrote Tuesday in a blog posting.

    "As soon as the storm subsides and the safety officers decide that it is safe to go out looking for oiled birds then we will commence with that program."

    Created in 1971, the center has responded to more than 150 oil spills, including the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989 and the Cosco Busan spill in San Francisco Bay in 2007.

    The 15 people the center has already sent are a combination of staff workers and response volunteers. Most are experts in wildlife disaster management. So far, they have treated only two oiled birds.

    Staff veterinarian Rebecca Duerr said Tuesday dozens more volunteers throughout Northern California have been asked to check with their families and employers to see if they are available to leave.

    Deployments could last as long as three months. The center is a nonprofit organization funded by donations, grants and response contracts with governments and the oil industry.

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