Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the worst oil spill in San Francisco Bay's history. These photos show some of the damage this spill caused and the efforts of our staff at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary to rescue live birds, catalog dead birds and collect plant and soil specimens after the spill. This anniversary comes as the Trump Administration pushes for increased oil drilling off the California coast. At his direction, the Commerce Department just completed a report outlining potential changes to allow oil drilling within national marine sanctuaries – including the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary just off the Golden Gate Bridge. The Department of Interior is currently studying removing restrictions on new offshore drilling on the outer continental shelf. We will continue to fight to protect birds and the natural resources they rely on, including any new oil drilling off our shores or on public lands.
In the days following the spill, staff at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary swung into action to respond to the potential damage that the rapidly spreading oil slick might do to the sanctuary’s bird populations and habitat. The spill happened right in the middle of winter migration, meaning that it took place at the worst time and the worst place imaginable, as millions of waterbirds were arriving from the Arctic and Boreal forests to either spend the winter in San Francisco Bay or were stopping to rest and feed during their annual migration to central or South America – only to encounter oily water.
Read our full press release on the anniversary here.