1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill

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The 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill occurred when two Standard Oil Company of California tankers, the Arizona Standard and the Oregon Standard, collided on January 18, 1971, in the San Francisco Bay. The resulting 800,000 gallon spill, the largest in Bay Area history, threatened sensitive natural habitats both inside and outside the bay, including the Bolinas Lagoon, and contributed to the growth of activism against pollution, after thousands of bay area residents volunteered to clean up beaches and rescue oil soaked birds. A number of environmental organizations had their origins in the spill cleanup. Standard Oil spent more than $1 million in the clean-up. [1] [2] [3] [4]


Inception of International Bird Rescue and volunteerism

In March 1971, California's Fish and Game Department estimated that 7,000 birds were oiled during the incident, most of which died prior to collection or while being taken into care. At the end of January 1971, roughly 200 of the 1600 birds "brought in" were still alive. [5] Ultimately less than 80 of those survived. [6]

The resulting environmental destruction from the spill, specifically the avian population, prompted volunteers to rescue some 4,300 birds. At the time, knowledge on how to care for oiled birds was low. Despite best efforts, only 300 or so animals were ever deemed fit to be released. The remnants of this volunteer force eventually resulted in the creation of the International Bird Rescue in an endeavor to increase knowledge and research in bird rescue. [3] One of the largest volunteer turnouts since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake came of this event. [4]

See also

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  1. "Tanker Collision Dumps a Huge Oil Spill in San Francisco Bay". The New York Times . 19 January 1971. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  2. "After 30 years, tankers safer but spills still a threat". The Associated Press. 19 January 2001. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  3. 1 2 Jay Holcomb (18 January 2011). "International Bird Rescue – Every Bird Matters» Blog Archive » Remembering the 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill" . Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  4. 1 2 Nels Johnson (9 November 2007). "Marin's biggest oil-dumping nightmare came in 1971". Marin Independent Journal . MediaNews Group, Bay Area News Group. Archived from the original on 2014-05-02. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  5. "Only 200 of 1600 treated seabirds survive in wake of San Francisco Bay oil spill (1971)". The Sacramento Bee. 1971-01-31. p. 1. Retrieved 2020-07-02.
  6. spills 1971), Birds O. K. (Wafra & Standard Oil California oil (1971-03-02). "Oil Fouls Beaches". The Manhattan Mercury. p. 6. Retrieved 2020-05-09.

Coordinates: 37°45′34″N122°20′31″W / 37.75944°N 122.34194°W / 37.75944; -122.34194