Entangled Whale Response Reimbursement

Thank you to the State of California and to the individuals and organizations who advocated for the state reimbursement funding for large whale entanglement response.  After expenses for distribution, $88,200 is available to members of NOAA’s large whale entanglement response network to reimburse the responders for their personal investments. The funding is retroactive to responses throughout the state from January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016, with carryover if necessary. To be fair to the entire network, and to ensure broad coverage, a committee was established to create standard rates and review all reimbursement requests.

See the list below of reimbursable items, and the maximum reimbursement amounts for each (no exceptions). Receipts or a copy of a credit card statement are required for any requested reimbursement. If you have a Google account, it is preferred that you upload a copy, scan or photo of your receipts to the CWR Google Drive (include your last name and the reimbursement category in the file names). Alternatively, you can email receipts to kathi@cawhalerescue.org.

Reimbursement requests can be submitted from December 5, 2016 – January 30, 2017. Reimbursement requests submitted after January 30, 2017, will not be accepted. The committee will review all requests during the month of February 2017. Checks will be distributed by California Whale Rescue (Oceanic Society) starting in March 2017. As a reminder, any equipment or expenses covered by previous/approved grants are not included in this reimbursement.

Reimbursable Items

Emergency Response Vessel Expenses

Vessel expenses are reimbursable for the following scenarios: disentanglement, satellite tag attachment, photo and video analysis, and search under direct order from Justin Viezbicke (or his delegate). These expenses include:

  • Fuel
  • Lubricant/Oil
  • Boat purchase for response
  • Boat repair/investment for response-related activities

Does not include:

  • BOLO ("Be on the look out") searches
  • Boat maintenance

Maximums based on vessel class:

  • Class A (less than 16’):  Max $150
  • Class 1 (16-26’):  Max $550
  • Class 2 (26-40’):  Max $3,000
  • Class 3 (40-65’):  Max $5,000
  • Research/Agency/University boats: Contract rates as published

Personnel Reimbursement

Network Member Stipend*
For members of NOAA’s Large Whale Entanglement Response Network only.

  • First Responder:  Max $50
  • Primary First Responder:  Max $175
  • Primary Entanglement Responder:  Max $350

Food: Expenses incurred by the responder during/for the response. Max $30

Fuel: Expenses incurred going to/from a response. Max $50

Hotel: Expense if traveling greater than 60 miles from home. Max: $150

Operating & Emergency Supplies

  • Lost/Broken/New Entanglement Response Tools:  Max $300
  • Telemetry Buoy/Equipment:  Max $1,000
  • Personal Protective Equipment (helmet, knife, foul weather gear):  Max $150
  • Documentation tools (camera or video equipment):  Max $100


We are exploring the options of how funding can be used towards prevention efforts in future funding cycles. 

Prevention: Max $50

Note: There may be a request for additional information beyond the receipt or credit card statement by the review committee. This will not affect your reimbursement. Thank you.

*First Responders: anyone in the Entanglement Response Network with any level of training who may respond to an entanglement report under NOAA Fisheries operational protocols and authorization. At a minimum they will voluntarily attempt to standby with an entangled whale and, depending on training, experience, authorization and equipment available, may also assess and perhaps tag the whale.

*Primary First Responders: direct efforts locally and, under certain conditions and authorization, may attempt disentanglements during first response.

*Primary Entanglement Responders: individuals who can perform all of the responsibilities of a first responder, but who also meet the criteria used by NOAA Fisheries for selecting individuals who may undertake the very dangerous activity of disentangling.