Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University

WSU Snohomish County Extension office has moved!

Our office is now located in the Snohomish County Parks & Recreation Administration Office at Willis Tucker Park, 6705 Puget Park Drive, Snohomish, 98296.

Oil Spill Awareness and Response Support (OSARS)

Header for OSARS

OSARS Training

September 19th and 26th

9:00 am to 3:30 pm

Coordinated by: WSU Snohomish County Extension


Register Here

  • Registration is $40 and will close on September 17.

Course Description

The OSARS course is designed for current marine resource volunteers with WSU and other organizations who are interested in learning about oil spills and opportunities for volunteering during an oil spill incident. The course presents information on oil spill impacts, science, response, assessment, and recovery, how the Incident Command System (ICS) framework is used during an oil spill and how volunteers can be involved.

The ten hour course will be held September 19th and 26th on-line via Zoom, will include table-top drills and will end with a discussion of volunteer roles during an oil spill.

Goals and Outcomes

To provide an overview of oil spill impacts, science, response, assessment, and recovery, how the Incident Command System (ICS) framework is used during an oil spill and how volunteers can be involved in order to increase the number of volunteers who are ready to assist in the event of an oil spill.

September 19th

Lesson 1:  Overview

9:00 am to 10:45 am

Description: Overview of oil spills and the ecological impacts to abiotic and biotic resources.


  • Patricia Townsend, Washington State University: Welcome and introduction
  • Nhi Irwin, WA Department of Ecology: General oil spill overview
  • Don Noviello, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife: Impacts of oil on wildlife

10:45 am to 11:00 am break

Lesson 2:  Oil Spill Science

11:00 am to 12:00 pm

Description: The basics of oil spill science including the different types of oil being transported and how each type of spilled oil behaves in open water along with the natural processes that affect their movement, behavior and fate (degradation).


  • Jamie Rosenberg, NOAA: Oil Spill Basics

Lesson 3:  Oil Spill Response

1 pm to 3:30 pm

Description: How agencies respond to an oil spill. The Incident Command System (ICS). Focus on the role of volunteers and their safety. There will also be an interactive virtual oil spill drill


  • Dave Byers, Response Section Manager, Washington Department of Ecology
  • Nora Haider, Department of Ecology: Snohomish Basin Geographic Response Plan
  • Edward Madura, Port of Everett: The Incident Command System During an Oil Spill
  • Patricia Townsend, Washington State University, Snohomish County Virtual Drill

September 26th

Lesson 4:  Oil Spill Assessment

9:00 am to 10:15 am

Description: How damage to natural resources from oil spills are assessed.


  • Marla Steinhoff, NOAA: Shoreline Clean-up and Recovery
  • Geoff Baran, NRDA Lead Washington Department of Ecology

10:15 am to 10:30 am break

Lesson 5:  Oil Spill Recovery

10:30 am to 12:00 pm

Description:  Overview of oil spill clean-up strategies, techniques and tools, including a discussion of effectiveness for the different types of oils.  Information about post-incident and long-term monitoring is also presented.


  • Tim Archer, MSRC: Cleaning-up After a Spill
  • Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, Washington Department of Ecology: Determining when the spill is no longer an environmental threat
  • Elliott Taylor, Polaris Applied Sciences

Lunch break

Lesson 6:  Volunteers and Oil Spills

1 pm to 3:30 pm

Description: Preparing volunteers for an oil spill incident. This final lesson will also include a discussion for how to best use volunteers in oil spill response.


  • Cindy Murphy, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response: How California Uses Volunteers After an Oil Spill
  • Randy Fay Snohomish County Emergency Management
  • Nhi Erwin, Washington Department of Ecology
  • Patricia Townsend, Washington State University: Discussion of volunteer roles


OSARS Training Speaker Bios

To see the bios of the OSARS Training Instructors, click here.

Policies and Safety

  • Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact Patricia Townsend at, (425) 357-6020 at least two weeks prior to the training.
  • Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office.

Funded by: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife NTA 2016-0149 and EPA grant number PC-01J223-01