Flash: Berkeley Marina Closed Due to Oil Spills, Rescue Stations Set Up Along Shoreline

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 09, 2007

The Berkeley Marina was closed to incoming and outgoing boat traffic Friday after the incoming tide brought more oil globules and sick birds into its beaches and surrounding parks. 

State and local agencies are working to rescue the oiled birds at the Marina and all along the East Bay shoreline after the Cosco Busan crashed into the Bay Bridge and spilled bunker fuel in the bay Wednesday. 

The city’s Environmental Health Division has warned that people and pets should be kept away from the contaminated shoreline. 

“It’s hard to predict how long the cleanup will be, or how long the effects will linger,” said Acting Waterfront Manager Ann Hardinger in a statement. “A lot depends on just how much the ocean can take.” 

The Berkeley Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team brought booms and other absorbent materials to the Marina to help clean up the water and shore. 

The Berkeley Animal Care Center reported that 25 sick birds were spotted along the shoreline from Berkeley through Albany on Friday. 

Mark Ragatz, shoreline unit manager for the East Bay Regional Park District, said that a command post had been set up at the Eastshore State Park today to clean affected birds. 

“It looks like a mess,” he told the Planet Friday. “Some areas are not hit as hard but it could take several weeks to clean up ... Oil appeared in Crown Beach in Alameda today.” 

The park district has closed off water access to a number of parks in the East Bay including Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, a popular dog walking area. 

Ragatz said that contractors had been hired to clean up the spills. Trained staff from the California State Department of Fish and Game and other local and state agencies were also involved in the rescue mission. 

Dead birds have been spotted at the Berkeley Marina and the Albany Bulb. 

“We picked up a dead duck from the Berkeley Marina today,” said Kate O’ Connor, director of the animal care shelter. “The International Bird Rescue Research Center has told us not to pick up any more birds but to tell them what type of birds we spot and where.” 

Councilmember Dona Spring said she was extremely concerned about the birds and wildlife affected by the spills. 

“I don’t know if the Coast Guard is making any trips down to the Berkeley shoreline,” she said. “I guess they are too busy dealing with the major oil spills. We are going to be billing the Coast Guard for any expenses that occur during the clean up. We should all make it our top priority to go down there and volunteer.” 

Some environmentalists have said that winter was the worst time for an oil spill since the bay is full of ducks, grebes, pelicans, cormorants and other water birds. 

The surf scoters, a species of ducks whose population has declined, seems to be the hardest hit. 

An oiled bird either dies of hypothermia or starves if not treated immediately. 

The International Bird Rescue Research Center has advised residents and visitors against cleaning the birds and instead to call the organization’s hotline at (877) 823-6926. 

While attempting capture, the animals eyes should be covered with a blanket or towel and they should then be transported inside a secure and ventilated container. 


Rules to follow during rescue: 

• Keep the animal warm, 80-90 degrees.  

• Don’t feed it or give it fluids.  

• Keep it in a secure, dark container or kennel.  

• Stay quiet around it and don’t constantly look at the bird.  

• Get it to a rehabilitation hospital as quickly as possible.  

• Never keep the animal or try to treat it yourself  


For more information visit www.ibrrc.org/Cosco_Busan_spill_2007.html. or www.uscgsanfrancisco.com/go/site/823/.