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Wildlife and Habitat Issues for Planning and Response Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Oil Spill Advisory Council September 16, 2008 Why Care About “Critters” in the Middle of an Oil Spill? Altruist: Direct and indirect loss of Maine’s natural resources

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Wildlife and Habitat Issues for Planning and Response

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Wildlife and Habitat Issues for Planning and Response

Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Oil Spill Advisory Council

September 16, 2008


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Why Care About “Critters” in the Middle of an Oil Spill?

  • Altruist: Direct and indirect loss of Maine’s natural resources

  • Capitalist: NRDA – source of funding to benefit wildlife/habitat

  • Realist: Public perception


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AltruistDirect Losses = Dead Birds

  • Most critical for Endangered/Threatened species

  • Easiest type of loss to document

  • and claim for NRDA

  • Most visible to the public


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AltruistIndirect Losses from Habitat Damage

  • Potentially catastrophic deaths, but after-the-fact

  • Much harder to document and claim for NRDA

  • Less noticed by the public


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CapitalistNatural Resource Damage Assessment

  • Not being used to full potential

  • Priority during a response?


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RealistPublic Perceptions

  • Largely beyond our (IFW’s) control

  • Media focuses on what sells (dead birds)

  • Press releases controlled from ICP

  • (IFW staff in Planning/Operations)


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Oil Spill Planning at IFW

  • Mapping the natural resources

  • - Geographic vulnerabilities

  • - NRDA baselines

  • Response


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Vulnerability of Wildlife & HabitatsImplications of Loss

  • Endangered/Threatened Species

  • High value habitats

  • - Critical to E/T species

  • - High biodiversity

  • - Unique areas

  • - Regulated habitats


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Vulnerability of Wildlife & HabitatsSusceptibility to Damage

  • Species – behaviors & physiology affect:

  • - Likelihood of being oiled

  • - Extent of oiling

  • - Ability to survive being oiled

  • Habitats – type & location affect:

  • - Likelihood of being oiled

  • - Difficulty of clean-up

  • - Ability to recover from being oiled


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Response Planning

  • Many similarities to efforts of others

  • Big Difference: surveys for EVI

  • - LARGE task

  • - Always dealing with incomplete/outdated information

  • Have only 1 dedicated staff member


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IFW Staff Resources

  • Oil Spill Biologist (Bangor)

  • Regional Staff

  • - 3 Coastal Regional Offices

  • - 2-3 Staff per office

  • Bird Biologists (2-3)


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Response – Typical Sequence

  • Initial Damage Assessment

  • - Based on EVI maps

  • - Superficial (no direct observation)

  • - Limited by accuracy & completeness of pre-mapped data

  • - Good start


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Response – Typical Sequence

  • Secondary Damage Assessment

  • - Field reconnaissance

  • - May not occur (depends on EVI, DEP responders)

  • - With so few staff & other priorities, may take time

  • - May conflict/compete with other response activities

  • - Hotzone training


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ResponseRecover & Rehabilitate Oiled Wildlife

  • Rehabilitation is challenging

  • Limited facilities with local

  • rehabilitators

  • IBRRC for anything big (facilities

  • still an issue)

  • Even in best possible situation,

  • success rate is low

  • IFW’s primary roles:

  • - Collecting oiled wildlife

  • - Supervising volunteers to transport

  • wildlife


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ResponseCollect/Document Dead Wildlife


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Response:Continue Surveys for Additional Oiled Wildlife & Habitat


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IFW Oil Spill Response Issues

  • Training

  • - Hotzone?

  • - Most exercises simulate Day 1-2;

  • Wildlife response really begins later

  • Long Deployment

  • - Union contract doesn’t allow OT

  • - Other priorities

  • “Big” vs. “Little” incident/response


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Conclusions

  • Planning for and dealing with the effects of oil spills

  • on wildlife & habitat are big, challenging tasks

  • but we are just a small agency

  • We do have a dedicated Oil Spill Biologist

  • Contract with IBRRC

  • Increased awareness among participants


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