Container ship M/V Cosco Busan with a gash on its side after colliding with the San Francisco Bay Bridge (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard).
State and federal trustee agencies will use most of the funds from a $36.8 million settlement of natural resource damages to restore natural resources injured by the Nov. 7, 2007 oil spill in the San Francisco Bay and to improve Bay Area recreational opportunities impacted by the spill. The funds are part of a $44.4 million settlement with Regal Stone Limited and Fleet Management Limited, the companies responsible for the container ship Cosco Busan that spilled 53,000 gallons of oil into the bay after hitting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
The trustees, including the California Department of Fish and Game, California State Lands Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management, estimate that the spill killed 6,849 birds, impacted 14 to 29 percent of the herring spawn that winter, oiled 3,367 acres of shoreline habitat, and resulted in the loss of over one million recreational user-days.
The event killed thousands of birds, impacted a significant portion of the Bay's 2008 herring spawn, spoiled miles of shoreline habitat and closed the Bay and area beaches to recreation and fishing (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard).
Approximately $32.3 million will be spent on a wide variety of restoration projects. The trustees have released a Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan for public comment. The plan proposes specific projects to address specific injuries. About $5 million is proposed for bird restoration, $4 million for habitat restoration, $2.5 million for fish and habitat (eelgrass) restoration, and $18.8 million for recreational use improvements. An additional $2 million will fund restoration planning, administration, and oversight, with any unused funds to be spent toward more restoration.