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Palo Alto Baylands untouched so far by oil spill

The Palo Alto Baylands are so far free of the oil that spilled into the bay last week and is washing up on beaches in the San Francisco area.

Daren Anderson, a senior park ranger at the Palo Alto Baylands, said rangers are keeping a close watch for any oil or any seabirds affected, including taking kayak rides in the bay. Nothing has shown up so far, he said.

While there is no evidence yet that the oil spill in San Francisco Bay has spread very far south, officials from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted an over-flight of the South Bay this afternoon, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

Federal officials have found that the oil has been found inside the bay from the Richmond shoreline to Alameda, and from Angel Island to San Francisco.

The Coast Guard, NOAA, the National Park Service and other federal and state agencies have formed a unified command center to coordinate work in cleaning up the spill that was created last Wednesday when a 900-foot-long freighter struck a protective boom of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, damaging the ship and releasing 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel into the bay.

The oil has fouled beaches and coated seabirds, spreading out from the bay to Point Reyes, forcing the park service to close many beaches.

As of yesterday, 372 oiled birds have been rescued and 171 birds have been found dead.

For more information about the spill, including volunteer opportunities and a list of Bay Area beach closures, visit http://www.uscgsanfrancisco.com/go/site/823/ .

-- Don Kazak

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