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Trustees Release Final Restoration Plan for November 2007 M/V Cosco Busan Oil Spill in San Francisco Bay, California


03/01/2012

damaged Cosco Busan A U.S. Coast Guard vessel inspects damage to the hull of the M/V Cosco Busan the day after the 900-foot long container ship struck a footing of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco Bay, California. An estimated 53,569 gallons of bunker fuel oil was released through the gash in the ship’s port side into the Bay, fouling public shorelines and historic ships, injuring herring, killing threatened and migratory birds and oiling habitat. Photo credit: Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle.

 

On March 1, 2012, the federal and State natural resource trustees released the Final Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment for the M/V Cosco Busan oil spill into San Francisco Bay, California. The natural resource trustees include State of California, Department of Commerce, acting through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Department of the Interior, acting through Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

On November 7, 2007, the fully-loaded container ship M/V Cosco Busan struck a fender on a structural tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge while leaving the Port of Oakland. An estimated 53,569 gallons of bunker fuel oil were released into San Francisco Bay through a gash in the ship’s hull. The oil spill caused widespread injury to natural resources and natural resource services, including:

  • more than 6,800 birds of 65 different species were killed including the threatened marbled murrelet, the threatened western snowy plover and migratory species;
  • as much as 29% of the winter 2007 – 2008 herring spawn in San Francisco Bay was lost due to egg mortality;
  • over 3,300 acres of shoreline habitat were oiled including lands managed by Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and,
  • over 1,000,000 human recreational user-days on public shorelines were lost.

Additionally, historic ships managed by the National Park Service at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park were oiled. A $32.3 million settlement for natural resource damages was reached with the responsible parties -- including the ship’s owner, the ship’s operator and the ship’s pilot -- on January 27, 2012.

The publicly-reviewed “Cosco Busan Oil Spill Final Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment” seeks to restore these natural resources and natural resource services injured by the oil spill. The trustees considered over 25 restoration alternatives and, in the end, selected 12 restoration projects to address the injured natural resources and a process to identify recreational use restoration projects. The restoration plan allocates the following funding amounts among the four main restoration focus areas:

  • Bird restoration projects: $5 million;
  • Fish/Eelgrass restoration projects: $2.5 million;
  • Habitat restoration projects: $4 million; and,
  • Recreational use restoration projects: $18.8 million.

Another $2 million is allocated to cover administrative and oversight costs but a portion of these funds could be reprogrammed to augment restoration projects, if available.  

Specific natural resource restoration projects are planned for the following Interior-managed lands: Golden Gate National Recreation Area; Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge; Farallon National Wildlife Refuge; Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge; and, Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Recreational use restoration projects are likely to be implemented in Golden Gate National Recreation. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, working through the State of California, will solicit proposals for recreational use projects in the near future.

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