National Oiled Wildlife Response Team Workshop 10 & 11 August 2015

One member from every region of New Zealand (except the Chathams) attended the 2015 National Oiled Wildlife Response Team (NOWRT) biannual workshop.

The workshop, run at Massey University was a fantastic opportunity with the full team together to get acquainted and network.

It was a busy couple of days with talks presented on everything from the foundations of the effects of oil on wildlife through to New Zealand’s oil response Tier 3 structure and how the NOWRT team operates and is represented.  There were a number of exercises including: oil spill response options for marine mammals, and the aims and practicalities of completing oil response action plans.

We were grateful for the help provided by Mick Courtnell from the Marine Pollution Response Service (MPRS), and Paul Vorwerk from Maritime New Zealand over the course of the workshop. Their targeted talks about “MPRS and the on-scene commander roles and responsibilities”, and “the analysis of environmental impacts and priorities during an oil spill” were also well received by the workshop participants and helped to establish the operational framework and functional responsibilities of OWR in the context of the greater oil spill response.  

We were extremely lucky to have two guest speakers; Mike Ziccardi, Director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network from the University of California Davis and Donna Watchman, an experienced NOWRT member from Tauranga New Zealand.  Mike spoke on the operational structure of the State of California’s oiled wildlife response as well as the marine mammal and reptile response to the Gulf of Mexico, Macondo well blowout, of which he was the lead. Donna spoke about her recent experience leading the oil wildlife response for the oil spill which occurred in Tauranga Harbour in April 2015.  

At the workshop Wildbase Oil Response outlined the proposed future training for NOWRT members; comprised of online training currently under development at Massey University in collaboration with the University of California Davis coupled with biannual NOWRT workshops.  

On the evening of the 10th of August, 2015 we all managed to fit in a bit of fun and went out to dinner at a local Thai restaurant. The networking opportunities presented by this combined NOWRT workshop were invaluable, because as we all know, when it comes to an oil spill response, it helps to know the people you are going to be working alongside.  We at Wildbase Oil Response would like to thank everyone for their participation at the workshop. We look forward to seeing you at the next one! 

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