The EUROWA-2 project is in full swing, with a number of important technical developments and activities taking place, or progressing in the last few months.
Sea Alarm has been coordinator and secretariat of the EUROWA network since its creation in 2015, with EU Civil Protection Funding, during the 1st EUROWA project. That project allowed European wildlife groups to establish themselves as the EUROWA network – a formal mutual assistance system European authorities can call on for support in case of an incident involving wildlife. The network currently has 9 members in 9 European countries and is expected to expand further in coming years.
The EUROWA-2 project, also funded by EU Civil Protection, is building on this foundation by strengthening the capability of EUROWA as a mutual assistance system and improving preparedness. In 2022 the following activities are completed or underway:
• Two online workshops (February and March) introduced European authorities to integrated management of wildlife response as part of pollution response.
• New training package for sea turtle responders developed including the first pilot course,
and two new manuals under development for sea turtle responders which will become part of the EUROWA standards series.
• New educational tools and guidelines now available in draft, including guidelines on organising exercises and an oiled wildlife response planning tabletop exercise package and desktop study. Promotion, by Sea Alarm and EUROWA, of these guidelines, and the concepts within them to European authorities and Regional Agreements.
• First in-person network meeting since 2019 was held in Ostend and attended by18 network
members and technical experts. This allowed the network to delve into extended technical face to face discussions on a wide range of issues, included two formal governance sessions and an inspection of the EUROWA equipment stockpile.
Training sessions are an important outcome of the EUROWA-2 project. Sessions held or planned include:
• New training course on the role of seabird scientists in impact assessment within an emergency response system.
• First Specialist oiled wildlife responder training (Wash and Dry Specialist)
• Advanced oiled wildlife responder training
Moving into the last 6 months of the project, the focus will be on finalising the range of technical tools and preparing them for dissemination throughout Europe, as well as completing the remaining training events. These courses include a second Risk and Impact Assessment course, a second Advanced course and the Pre-wash Specialist responder course.