Oiled Wildlife Care Network

photo: Western grebe being gavage-fed
Research has provided answers about the best nutrition for oiled birds.

Competitive Grants Program

In order to ensure that wildlife exposed to petroleum products receive the best achievable capture and care, the OWCN sponsors up to $250,000 per year to support research and technology development efforts.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) is sent out each year by mid-March. Projects are reviewed by the OWCN and its Scientific Advisory Committee, and funding for accepted proposals begins in October.

Since 1996, over 100 projects have been sponsored, and over $2 million has been allocated to improve our understanding of how oil affects wildlife.

Project Types

Projects supported by this program have included both basic research and applied research projects. The OWCN supports both large-scale research projects, which require more than $10,000 per year for up to three years, and small or pilot projects, which require less than $10,000 for one year of funding. Small projects go through a less rigorous submission and review process.

Project Goals

The goals of the Competitive Grant program fall into several categories:

  • Improve Animal Care
    • Identify new, and refine current, wildlife rehabilitation techniques
    • Develop and validate new oiled wildlife treatments & diagnostics
    • Determine and test methods for mitigating the effects of oil on wildlife
  • Assess Wildlife Health
    • Investigate medical conditions that may affect care during oil spill response
    • Compile biomedical health parameters of commonly oiled wildlife species
    • Determine the health impacts of oil exposure, including those that persist after release
    • Assess the impacts of medical treatments and chemical countermeasures on wildlife
  • Determine Wildlife Population Information that Aids in Caring for Oiled Wildlife
    • Determine the demography & distribution of wildlife species in California
    • Understand how populations respond to oil spills (to improve rehabilitation protocols)
  • Develop New Technology for Oiled Wildlife Care
    • Generate methods to detect & quantify oil exposure, and to document effects
    • Assess applicability of radiotelemetry to monitor survival of wildlife after spills
    • Develop hardware to improve oiled wildlife rehabilitation & husbandry