California Department of Fish and Wildlife

MWVRC Spill Response Program


CDFW scientist transporting oiled seabirds on an ATV.
CDFW scientist transporting oiled seabirds on an ATV.

The primary role of the MWVCRC (Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center) is to provide a state-of-the-art facility, equipment, and trained personnel in a state of readiness to enable best achievable capture, care, and rehabilitation of marine wildlife (primarily sea otters, marine birds, and pinnipeds) affected by oil spills and/or other pollution events. In addition to the cleaning and rehabilitation facility, the MWVCRC maintains mobile veterinary labs, several boats, and other equipment for the capture and care of marine wildlife.

As a keystone facility of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), the MWVCRC shares the OWCN’s mission of best achievable capture and care for wildlife exposed to petroleum in the environment. The MWVCRC was funded (pursuant to CA Government Code §8670.37.5) and built with a specific goal of being able to care for up to 150 sea otters, 10 pinnipeds, and 125 birds during oil spills, and is the designated primary care facility for all oiled sea otters in California.

The MWVCRC cared for an individual oiled sea otter, named “Olive,” in 2009. Cleaning of Olive, who now has her own FaceBook page, provided a good opportunity to test protocols developed during a sea otter washing study conducted between 2004 and 2008. The MWVCRC is currently working with the OWCN on a revision and expansion of protocols for response to oiled otters.

For general information on OSPR response to oiled wildlife, see our Wildlife Response page.

Contact Information

Laird Henkel
Address: 1451 Shaffer Road. Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Email: lhenkel@ospr.dfg.ca.gov
Phone: (831) 469-1719

Page Last Updated: September 28, 2012