Volunteers can register to help with O.C. oil spill

Local news
Workers clean oil from the sand, south of the pier, in Newport Beach, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. A leak in an oil pipeline caused a spill off the coast of Southern California, sending about 126,000 gallons of oil into the ocean, some ending up on beaches in Orange County. (Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP)

Workers clean oil from the sand, south of the pier, in Newport Beach, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. A leak in an oil pipeline caused a spill off the coast of Southern California, sending about 126,000 gallons of oil into the ocean, some ending up on beaches in Orange County. (Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP)

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is registering volunteers to help with the Orange County oil spill, according to its website.

As of Wednesday, the agency is only using trained volunteers, but registration is open to those who want to help. Interested community members can fill a volunteer form on the department’s website.

“Calling on thousands of volunteers to assist with clean up efforts, once conditions are deemed safe,” Supervisor Katrina Foley tweeted Wednesday.

Volunteers will get four hours of training to make sure hazardous materials are disposed of properly, the county supervisor said.

The Fish and Wildlife volunteer form asks those interested if they can lift up to 25 pounds, whether they have worked with animals and if they have law enforcement or hazmat training, or other credentials.

“Please be patient with responses. Currently only pre-trained and affiliated volunteers are being used. It will take time. This clean up will be a long process,” Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach posted on Instagram.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is among other locations, like SeaWorld San Diego, that are on standby to receive animals affected by the spill.

Officials have stressed that the most important way to help is to avoid touching any oil-covered animals and instead report any sightings to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 1-877-823-6926.

“First and foremost we need people to not try to catch soiled animals,” Dr. Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. “It’s not safe for the animals, it’s not safe for them because oil can be a toxic substance.”

The network has 1,600 trained people who are working to find oil-covered animals, according to Ziccardi. As of Tuesday, the group had rescued 15 animals, including an American Coot and a Western Gull that died.

Those interested in helping can also donate to organizations involved with rescue efforts.

The Bolsa Chica Conservancy set up an “Oil Spill Response Fund” to raise money for the organizations. It had garnered more than $14,000 as of Wednesday.

Foley said residents can donate supplies that can be dropped off at the county office at 333 Santa Ana Blvd. in Santa Ana.

Needed supplies are: Nitrile gloves, N95 masks, tyvek suits, syringes for feeding, red rubber feeding tubes and collapsible plastic of cardboard animal carrying cases.

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