Islands’ Oil Spill Association (IOSA) is a non-profit, community-based, community-supported oil spill response organization that provides prompt, effective, local oil spill response and prevention throughout San Juan County in Washington state.
IOSA is the only oil spill response organization in the San Juan Islands and the only private, non-profit, community-based response organization in the Pacific Northwest.
We have trained responders available for quick assessment and clean-up 24 hours a day throughout the year and many of IOSA’s responders are trained in both oil spill containment/clean-up & oiled wildlife search & rescue.
In 1985, oiled birds and clumps of black oil began washing ashore in Mosquito Pass and Westcott Bay on the west side of San Juan Island. Mainland response agencies were unable to respond during the critical first 24 hours and island residents, who could only watch as the oil impacted shoreline and wildlife, were left with a new awareness that we must be prepared to provide necessary resources for initial response (within three hours) on our own.
The source of the oil was never discovered but with that incident, community members began to organize and Islands’ Oil Spill Association came into being.
By the beginning of 1988, IOSA was ready and responding to spills, with more than 100 community members trained, non-profit status and equipment acquired, operational logistics developed and approval from the United States Coast Guard and Washington state agencies obtained.
By the close of 2011, IOSA had been paged or called regarding a spill or a potential spill 568 times (see Annual Spill Reports), with 112 of these calls requiring the next level of response beyond assessment (read about IOSA’s 100th spill response), including containment, clean-up, prevention of a spill through removal of a source and oiled wildlife search & rescue.