Report 2008-102 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2008-102: Office of Spill Prevention and Response: It Has Met Many of Its Oversight and Response Duties, but Interaction With Local Government, the Media, and Volunteers Needs Improvement (Release Date: August 2008)

Recommendation #1 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To ensure that the State?s activities in response to an oil spill are complete and well integrated with other efforts, the spill office should regularly update the state plan and include references to sections of the regional plan and area plans that cover required elements.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2010

The Draft State plan was shared with external partners and the Review Subcommittee of the State Interagency Oil Spill Committee per Government Code 8574.10. This office reviewed submitted comments, provided responses, and incorporating them into the plan. The State Oil Spill Contingency Plan was approved by the Administrator on December 15, 2009 and can be found by searching the DFG Document library at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/documents/ under State Oil Spill Contingency Plan. (See 2009-041 p. 132)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #2 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To better integrate local plans with the response activities in other types of contingency plans, and to keep local plans up to date, the spill office should work with local governments to improve participation and should consider whether additional grant funding is needed.

1-Year Agency Response

The spill office said that in fiscal year 200809 it awarded 26 equipment and training grants totaling more than $650,000 to local government agencies. It noted that the contractor providing equipment and training had conducted three training sessions and would complete the remaining training sessions by October 31, 2009. Finally, language allowing for the inclusion of a local government representative in the unified command for spills in or near the San Francisco Bay has been added to the North Coast/San Francisco Bay and Delta/Central Area Contingency Plan. (2010-406, p. 194)

  • Response Date: August 2009

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #3 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

With regard to postspill reviews, the spill office should determine whether the postspill reviews are an effective means for identifying areas for plan improvement and then take steps to either ensure the reviews are submitted or eliminate them from its regulations.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2012

The requirement for a "post spill review" has routinely run into legal challenges; the responsible party (RP) is reluctant to admit fault or deficiencies in their plan due to liability issues. The investigations conducted by OSPR and/or the US Coast Guard as the cause of the spill is a better source for this information, which can then be addressed in the RP's contingency plan, if appropriate. Therefore, rulemaking was promulgated that removed the requirement for a "post spill review." These changes went into effect on June 2, 2011. (See 2011-041 p. 143)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #4 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To ensure vessel preparedness for oil spills, the spill office should obtain and retain documentation related to completion of required tabletop exercises.

1-Year Agency Response

The spill office said that it hired an additional drill coordinator who started in January 2009 and that its Drills and Exercises Unit is now fully staffed and trained on the need to retain documentation related to tabletop exercises, including keeping its database updated. (2010-406, p. 194)

  • Response Date: August 2009

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #5 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To avoid logistical problems in responding to oil spills, the spill office should collaborate with area committees in California to identify potential command centers that are sized appropriately and possess all necessary communications equipment.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2011

The San Diego Area Committee, co?chaired by the spill office and the Coast Guard, established a subcommittee to develop a list of pre?identified suitable incident command post locations in the area. The subcommittee identified the Coast Guard?Sector San Diego as the appropriate command post in the southern portion of San Diego County. For spills in the northern portion of the county, the subcommittee identified the City of Carlsbad?s Emergency Operations Center as a suitable incident command post. The Coast Guard established a memorandum of understanding with the City of Oceanside for use of the facility. (See 2010-041 p. 113)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #6 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To strengthen its role as a liaison between local governments and the unified command, the spill office should continue with its plans to develop qualification standards for liaison officers and to train more staff for that role. The spill office should also ensure that staff assigned as liaison officers participate in drills to gain experience. In addition, the spill office should ensure that staff in its operations center provide all necessary support, including communications equipment, to liaison officers in the field.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2012

OSPR has developed a program for expanding the liaison staff depth.

OSPR currently has identified 3 liaison position Subject Matter Experts (SME), which was the initial goal for all mission-critical ICS positions that OSPR routinely fills. These SMEs have developed a Liaison training program for staff members for serving at either the Incident Command Post or in the Operations Center in Sacramento. Currently several staff in addition to the SMEs have been trained and are getting their OJT through in-house and industry drills.

OSPR developed a liaison component for the Ops Center Manual which includes tasks, jobs and additional information. OSPR activated the Ops Center Liaison during the October 2010 Dubai Star incident in the San Francisco Bay, and the Statewide Tsunami event in March 2011. The Ops Center Liaison provided significant critical support to the field Liaison officer, and bridged the need for communication between the Command post and the Assembly, Senate, and other agencies (local, State, and Federal) that were not on-scene or directly involved with the response.

The Ops Center Liaison's support removed a tremendous demand off the field Liaison officer for better on-scene focus.

Continuing education and skill development will be ongoing. OSPR plans to continue to train and drill identified Liaison staff, for both Operations Center and field positions. Designated Liaison staff will need to attend drills and exercises regularly to maintain their skills.

The recent implementation of OSPR's oil spill response website has been incorporated into the training as a tool that can be used to provide spill-specific information available to the press and general public. More sensitive information will be available to government agencies under password protection. (See 2011-041 p. 144)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #7 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To ensure that it performs and reports spill volume calculations quickly and accurately, the spill office should collaborate with the Coast Guard to establish spill calculation protocols, including transportation needs and the sharing of each entity-s calculations. The spill office should also establish procedures to ensure that staff promptly report spill calculations to the state coordinator. Further, the spill office should include spill calculations as part of its drills.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2010

The "Joint USCG/OSPR Protocol for Oil Spill Quantification" was written by OSPR in early 2009 and submitted to the Coast Guard's Eleventh District by March, 2009. See the attached protocol. The Coast Guard's District Commander determined that the proper place for the protocol was in each Federal On-Scene Coordinator's Area Contingency Plan (ACP). The protocol is to be placed in the ACP addendums and will be referenced in the ACPs at the next scheduled update. Quantification has become a standard element in our required oil spill contingency plan drills. The protocol was properly used in the recent DUBAI STAR incident on October 30, 2009 to the satisfaction of the Unified Command (e.g. the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, the State On-Scene Commander, and the Responsible Party) and those analyzing the spill response. (See 2009-041 p. 132)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #8 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To ensure that a state employee knowledgeable in oil spills is available to assist in public relations during a spill response, public relations staff in the communications office should participate in spill drills. The spill office should also develop protocols to ensure that key information, such as the role of volunteers, is disseminated to the public early in a spill response.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2011

In the January 2010 response to the bureau, the spill office described its multi-phase approach to creating a strong Public Information Officer (PIO) team. To date, the spill office has filled its vacant PIO position, and augmented its management staff by hiring an individual with an extensive public affairs and emergency response background. Assistant Information Officer positions have been created under the Incident Command System (ICS) used as the management framework for emergency response. Additional staff have been designated to fulfill the assistant roles, and they have completed multiple trainings including press release writing, media relations, social marketing, and Coast Guard Strike Team public affairs. One of the assistants has also been certified bi-lingual in Spanish. The assistants have been attending drills with the lead PIOs to enhance their knowledge and further develop their skills. Future crisis trainings have also been scheduled. An operations agreement has been implemented between the spill office and Fish and Game's Office of Communication Education and Outreach (OCEO) for additional support and reserve staff for spill response. Individuals from OCEO have attended drills and training, the most recent of which was completed October 27, 2010. The CalSpillWatch page, designated for oil spill emergency response communications, has been launched and is live with 15 spill office staff trained in its use for posting information (across the ICS organization system-PIO, Liaison, Planning, Operations). Additional development continues. Following Fish and Game standard operating procedure, the social network has been established and the spill office now shares media distribution lists with OCEO so that the spill office PIOs can distribute information while in the field more quickly, and at any time of day or night. (See 2010-041 p. 114)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #9 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

The spill office should ensure that the wildlife network identifies and trains a sufficient number of staff to carry out recovery activities outlined in contingency plans in the event of a large spill.

1-Year Agency Response

The spill office noted that Assembly Bill 2911, approved by the governor in September 2008, adds proactive oiled wildlife search and collection rescue efforts as a primary focus of the wildlife network. This bill also requires the spill office administrator to ensure that the State has the ability to identify, collect, rescue, and treat oiled wildlife according to specified requirements, including training volunteers, stocking emergency equipment for rescue, and providing additional staffing. Funding for the wildlife network increased from $1.5 million for fiscal year 200809 to $2 million for fiscal year 200910. The wildlife network says that it has conducted a number of workshops, trainings, and refresher courses, and hired a wildlife field operations assistant to perform readiness activities during non-spill periods and support wildlife rescue efforts during oil spills. (2010-406, p. 196)

  • Response Date: August 2009

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #10 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To the extent that hazardous waste training requirements are a barrier to maintaining sufficient numbers of trained staff, the spill office should continue to clarify with Cal/OSHA whether reduced requirements for hazardous waste training are acceptable for volunteers assisting on recovery teams, and should consider working with the wildlife network to ensure that this training is widely available to potential volunteers before a spill.

1-Year Agency Response

Cal/OSHA responded to the spill offices questions about the level of hazardous waste training necessary for wildlife rescue volunteers. Cal/OSHA indicated that the hazardous waste training could not be reduced from the level currently required, but that untrained volunteers could be used in support roles for wildlife rescue efforts. (2010-406, p. 196)

  • Response Date: August 2009

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #11 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To ensure an appropriate reserve balance for the fund, the spill office should annually assess the reasonableness of the reserve balance and the per-barrel fee on crude oil and petroleum products. Using this annual assessment, the spill office should adjust expenditures or the per-barrel fee as necessary.

1-Year Agency Response

In January 2009 the spill office created a report projecting its fund balance through fiscal year 2012 13. At that time, the spill office said that it was making mid-year adjustments to offset decreased revenues from imported oil. (2010-406, p. 196)

  • Response Date: August 2009

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #12 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To ensure that the fund is charged only for oil spill prevention activities, the spill office and Fish and Game should provide guidelines to employees concerning when to charge activities to the fund and when to charge other funds for general activities.

1-Year Agency Response

The spill office updated its time-reporting guidelines in February 2009 and stated that it has provided the guidelines to all employees. (2010-406, p. 196)

  • Response Date: August 2009

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #13 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To ensure that the fund is charged only for oil spill prevention activities, the spill office and Fish and Game should take steps to ensure that spill prevention wardens' time is charged appropriately, such as performing a time study of wardens to use as a basis for allocating wardens' time between the fund and other Fish and Game funding sources. Such a time study should be updated periodically to ensure that it remains valid and accurate.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2012

The Department of Fish and Game's Law Enforcement Division (LED) had completed two time studies prior to completing this third study. The BSA had determined the previous two studies did not meet the recommendation's intent. In an attempt to comply with the BSA recommendations a third time study was commissioned.

The Law Enforcement unit within the OSPR completed a time study comparing spill warden's time claimed on monthly attendance reports with the actual activity worked for the same monthly period. The time study also compared the time claimed on attendance reports of non-spill wardens verses their activity worked for the same monthly periods. The non-spill wardens used in this study worked within the same geographic areas as the spill wardens.

The time study revealed that spill wardens did not charge the OSPAF excessively. The study revealed that although spill wardens may work occasionally in areas not directly related to spill prevention and response, the use of specialized overtime not from the OSPAF allowed the spill wardens to remain within the marine zone monitoring spill activity and conducting spill prevention patrols for a longer period of time. This allowed spill wardens to work in the marine zone longer with no charge to the OSPAF. In addition, the study revealed that non-spill wardens work and completed significant amounts of spill related enforcement activity while working within the marine zone. This activity was not funded by the OSPAF. And as a result, the mission of the OSPR is benefitted by non-funded activity on an average of 60 hours per month per non-OSPAF funded officer.

In addition, the LED has developed funding management tools to help both spill and non-spill wardens charge their working time to the appropriate fund. These tools allow all wardens to code work efforts not in support of the OSPAF to other specific funding sources. Supervisors and managers review the use of these codes monthly to verify the appropriateness of the charges. These codes are then reviewed periodically by management to verify funding charges are within allotted limits and that the charges to specific funding sources are appropriate.

The OSPR Law Enforcement unit will continue to monitor activity charges to the OSPAF on a monthly and quarterly basis to verify the appropriateness of the charges. A new time study will be developed and implemented in the coming year to verify the findings of the initial study. Based on the recommendations made by the BSA, the Department of Fish and Game and OSPR believe we have fully implemented recommendation #5 of the BSA Report 2008-102. A complete copy of the Warden Time Study was submitted to the BSA in March 2011. (See 2011-041 p. 145)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #14 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To ensure that the fund is charged only for oil spill prevention activities, the spill office and Fish and Game should discontinue the current charge to the fund for the attorney we identified that does not perform spill prevention activities.

1-Year Agency Response

The spill office made adjustments so that the time of the attorney mentioned in the report is properly charged. (2010-406, p. 196)

  • Response Date: August 2009

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #15 To: Fish and Wildlife, Department of

To ensure that the spill office has necessary resources available to it, and to reduce friction regarding the use of staff, the spill office and other Fish and Game units should discuss their respective authorities and better define the role of each in the management of spill prevention staff consistent with the administrator?s statutory responsibilities and the other needs of Fish and Game. Such discussions could clarify the spill office?s role in hiring and firing employees, spell out specific training needs, and identify how staff will be funded.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2010

In an effort to improve departmental organization and operations and deliver mission-critical programs at the highest level the Department refined its organization structure and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. To provide a solid framework for those affected by direct reporting relationships the OSPR has taken the following steps: a) The department's Law Enforcement Division has agreed to collaborate with OSPR when filling vacancies and provide notification when purchases of over $5,000 are incurred b) Minimal operational changes have been experienced by our Legal Branch with the exception that all civil and criminal cases referred to the Attorney Generals Office will be directed to the Departments Office of General Counsel Deputy Director for initial review c) All Information and Technology (IT) functions have remained at OSPR. Weekly coordination with the department's Assistant Deputy Director of IT is carried out to discuss ongoing projects and future needs of the program d) To improve communication, education and outreach efforts, OSPR's Public Information and External Affairs positions have been physically relocated back to the division's headquarters. We?ve hired a manager with an extensive communications background to manage and direct staff and coordinate with the department's Deputy Director of Office of Communications and agency personnel.

All hiring and purchasing functions for the Legal, Communication and IT programs remain at the OSPR. To ensure adequate resources are available during a spill event, personnel department?wide have been cross trained to perform response and communication activities. (See 2009-041 p. 133)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


All Recommendations in 2008-102

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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