When an oil spill impacts wildlife, the success of the wildlife response often depends on the quality of the preplanning and the responders ability to manage the factors that they can control. While factors such as season and weather, seasonal behavior and lifecycle stages of wildlife cannot be controlled, training of personal, equipment caches and pre-identifying facilities can have a huge influence on the success or failure or a wildlife response. Effective planning prior to the event is the only way to assure maximum preparedness and effective response.

Wildlife response planning has become a key component of oil spill preparedness and response. With the recent publication of the IPIECA Report: A Guide to Oiled Wildlife Response Planning, planning for wildlife response has become an accepted and expected component of any oil spill contingency plan. Depending on available resources, appropriate response strategies may include any of a variety of tools: assessing impacts, use of dispersants, protective booming, hazing, wildlife rehabilitation and euthanasia.

A good wildlife plan should address each of these issues and provide the information and guidance to necessary for responders to make appropriate and timely decisions that will maximize the success execution of the plan and the objectives of the specific response.

This paper will outline the components necessary in a good wildlife plan within a framework that should be familiar to oil spill response planners. It will include a strategy section, an action section and a data section.

As with every other phase of the response there are a variety of factors that affect the success of the wildlife plan. These include efficient management of all resources including the human resources, equipment and facilities. Quick initiation of the operations is critical to minimize the time between oiling of animals when they are collected and rehabilitation initiated. This paper will provide a framework for planners or responders with little or no wildlife experience to assist them in planning for the wildlife component within the overall response.

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