Point Reyes National Seashore Oil Incident on January 17, 1998

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Date: January 22, 1998
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135

Since Saturday, January 17th, oil and oiled birds have been washing ashore at Point Reyes National Seashore. This is the second incident of this kind in the past two months. Sparsely scattered tar balls have been found on Drakes and North Beaches. The Seashore and its beaches have remained open to the public for usual recreational activities. The efforts for this incident are winding down but the beaches will continue to be monitored for several days.

Aggressive investigative efforts are underway by the Coast Guard and California Department of Fish and Game Oil Spill Prevention Response (OSPR), to analyze samples and identify potential sources of the oil. Additionally, Coast Guard specialists are preparing trajectory analyses and developing response strategies.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation should call either the Department of Fish and Game’s CalTIP hotline at 888-DFG-CALTIP (334-2258), or the Coast Guard Command Duty Officer at (510) 437-3073. Callers may remain anonymous.

Wildlife impact, to date:

  • 110 live, oiled birds have been captured and are receiving care;
  • 260 dead birds have been recovered;
  • Approximately 30 oiled birds (still free) are being monitored; and
  • 6 oiled snowy plovers (a federally-threatened species) were seen and will continue to be monitored.

Oiled wildlife should be reported to Point Reyes National Seashore, at (415) 663-8525.


Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


(415) 464-5100
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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