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International Oil Spill Conference

Dr. Lyle Trumbull (R) and Kyle Kolwaite (L) presented at the International Oil Spill Conference

OBG recently took part in the International Oil Spill Conference on May 15-18, 2017 in Long Beach, California. This conference provides a forum for professionals from the international response community, private sector, government, and non-governmental organizations to come together to exchange ideas and lessons learned from spill responses and research around the world.

During the conference, OBG's Lyle Trumbull, PhD and Kyle Kolwaite, both experts in emergency response and risk assessment, provided a short course on environmental unit leader training for managers, presented a poster on New York State’s inland geographic response plans, and served as session chairs.

View our presentations

Environmental Unit Leader Training for Managers [Short Course]
Lyle Trumbull, PhD and Kyle Kolwaite

Students learned the fundamental requirements and duties of the Environmental Unit Leader (EUL) as it pertains to operating within the Incident Command System (ICS). The environmental unit is often tasked with supporting the response effort by identifying resources at risk, managing the Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) program, leading Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultations, National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106 Consultations, and collectively managing environmental stakeholder issues. This course aimed to educate personnel who normally fill other ICS positions about the EUL perspective.

View content from the course:

New York State’s Inland Geographic Response Plans [Poster]
Lyle Trumbull, PhD and Kyle Kolwaite with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Geographic Response Plans (GRPs) are location-specific plans developed to provide guidance for oil spill responses throughout the U.S. Until recently, the majority of crude oil transportation in the U.S. occurred via waterways on oil tankers and barges. As a result, most existing GRPs focus on the protection of sensitive biological habitats and socio-economic features in nearshore environments. The recent development of crude oil extraction from the Bakken formation has resulted in a significant increase in the volume of crude oil being transported via railroads and pipelines and has highlighted the need for inland response planning.

In response to this increase in crude-by-rail traffic, the Governor of New York issued Executive Order 125 directing state agencies to strengthen the state’s preparedness for incidents involving crude oil transportation. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Services and Department of Health, are leading a multi-stakeholder effort to develop Inland GRPs for the 21 NYS counties currently impacted by crude-by-rail transportation.

This poster discusses these inland GRPs, including development, structure, and examples.

Meet our experts

Dr. Lyle Trumbull
Lyle Trumbull is an Emergency Response and Risk Assessment expert at OBG. He is a well-rounded and practical ecologist with 32 years of post-BS experience in academics, government, industry, and consulting. Lyle has been the primary technical consultant on human health and ecological risk assessments for more than 30 clients and has participated in the Planning Section for more 30 drills and/or events. He was awarded the U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation for his service in the Environmental Unit during the six-month response to the Athos I release and was responsible for permitting, booming strategies, and the development and initial management of the Natural Resource Advisor program during the MC 252 response. Prior to OBG, Lyle worked as a biologist for Shell Global Solutions and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He received his MS in biology from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, his PhD in biology from the University of Illinois, and served as a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow in Biosciences Related to the Environment at Harvard University.

Kyle Kolwaite
Kyle Kolwaite is a project scientist in OBG's natural resource and restoration group. Over the past 10 years, Kyle has participated in a variety of spill responses and drills throughout the U.S., serving as the Deputy Planning Section Chief, Environmental Unit Leader, SCAT Coordinator, GIS Technical Specialist, Ecological Technical Specialist, and Wildlife Coordinator to complete wildlife reconnaissance, capture, and recovery. For the past three years, Kyle has managed OBG’s inland response planning and preparedness program and developed more than 225 Geographic Response Plans (GRPs) and 200 site-specific response strategies for New York State. His non-emergency duties include wetland and forest delineations, environmental and human health risk assessments, environmental permitting, spill prevention plans, modeling and statistical analysis, sampling of environmental media, database management, GIS, and health and safety plans. Kyle is a TWIC holder and has experience in small and large mammal trapping, herpetological and avian surveys, and piloting watercraft. He also is a certified Ecologist and Associate Wildlife Biologist and serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Biology Department at Onondaga Community College.