Our partners in oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response
We have partners at the local, state, federal, tribal, and nonprofit levels. Together, we work to prevent, prepare for, and respond to oil spills. You'll find helpful links to these organizations and agencies here, as well as information about the Incident Command System we use to coordinate response efforts.
How we work together
- Prevent oil spills through educational outreach
- Prepare for oil spills by participating in spill drills with industry
- Respond to spills in a rapid, aggressive, and well-coordinated manner
Along with our partners, we use the Incident Management System to coordinate response efforts. This incident system requires formation of a Unified Command to deal with emergencies like significant oil spills. Together, Unified Command members make coordinated decisions. The Unified Command is typically composed of local, state, federal, and tribal governments that are affected by a potential or actual spill incident.
Who we work with
United States Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is our federal partner when we conduct oil spill drills or respond to oil spill incidents on water. Under the Incident Command System, the USCG may act as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator. The USCG also administers the National Response Center hotline for reporting oil spills. Washington State is in the 13th USCG District.
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of our federal partners when we conduct oil spill drills or respond to oil spill incidents. Under the Incident Command System, the EPA may act as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator.
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
During oil spills and chemical releases, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric (NOAA) provides scientific support to best determine the fate and effects of oil or chemicals once they are spilled into the environment. NOAA also administers the Endangered Species Act, and we work with them to identify and protect threatened and endangered species when spills and releases occur.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Along with NOAA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS) administers the Endangered Species Act. We work with them to identify and protect threatened and endangered species when spills occur. We also work with them to investigate the effects of pollution and use the data to secure compensation for lost or damaged wildlife and habitat.
There are 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington and a number of bordering tribes with cultural and resource interests in their traditional territories within the state. Tribal participation in oil spill drills and spill response is crucial for protecting tribal lands, resources, and culture. As sovereign nations, tribes are invited to participate as members of the Unified Command in spill drills and responses.
During oil spill drills or response efforts, a representative from our agency acts as the State On-Scene Coordinator. Other state agencies partner with us depending on the need. These agencies are also members of the Resource Damage Assessment Committee that is chaired by Ecology.
Department of Natural Resources
The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) addresses derelict vessels and removal of derelict or other problem vessels that cause oil spills. They also manage state trust lands, state-owned aquatic lands, and state natural areas, which can be impacted by spills.
Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife
When spills affect wildlife, a representative from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) acts as a subject matter expert and directs oiled wildlife response rescue and rehabilitation. WDFW also participates in our oil spill drills.
Washington State Department of Health
We partner with the state's Department of Health when spills affect food supplies (shellfish, for example), drinking water, or air quality (inhalation of fumes).
Washington State Parks
We partner with the state's Parks and Recreation Commission when spills impact or threaten to impact our state park lands and waters.
Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
We consult with the state's Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation when spills impact or threaten to impact our cultural and historic resources.
During spill drills or response efforts, Unified Command includes a member representing local emergency response interests.
Northwest Area Committee
The Region 10 Regional Response Team and the Northwest Area Committee (NWAC) supports spill responses in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Our agency maintains geographic response plans for Washington under an agreement with the NWAC.
Pacific States & British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force
We represent Washington state as a member of the Pacific States & British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force. The task force promotes trans-boundary information sharing, project coordination, and mutual support to address oil spill risks.
Pacific Oil Spill Prevention Education Team
We participate in the Pacific Oil Spill Prevention Education Team (POSPET), which supports Task Force goals through oil spill prevention education and outreach. POSPET members collaborate on prevention projects and share ideas and materials so all Pacific coast states and provinces can benefit from successful prevention practices.
Washington Sea Grant
The Sea Grant program at the University of Washington is part of a national network of 33 programs administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Sea Grant network provides research, outreach, education, and communications programs in every coastal and Great Lakes state and in Puerto Rico and Guam.
Clean Marina is an industry-led certification program between marina managers, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Together, these partners work to prevent pollution, reduce waste, and communicate best practices to boaters. With more than one-third of Washington marinas certified after 10 years, the program continues to grow, enhancing water quality protections and increasing member benefits.
Ecology does not perform Clean Marina certification, but strongly encourages marinas to become certified. Clean Marina has a free pollution prevention manual for marinas (interactive/online or printable). For more information, or to request a free, educational site visit, visit the Clean Marina Washington website.