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Spill Contigency Planning and Response

 

Two Fish and Wildlife Service employees dressed in Tyvek suits stand with gear to capture and transport oiled wildlife.

Liisa Niva and Matt Stuber during an oil spill caused by the rupture of an Enbridge pipeline. Oil flowed into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.

Photo by USFWS

The goal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Spill Contigency Planning and Response is to emphasize early (contingency) planning and cooperation at the local, regional and national level in an effort to minimize injuries to fish, wildlife, and sensitive environments.

 

When an oil or chemical spills occur, our contaminant biologists respond to protect our nation's natural resources. During a spill incident, we provide technical expertise to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator to minimize harm to threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, certain marine mammals, freshwater fish, and their supporting habitat. We also oversee the collection and rehabilitation of oiled and injured wildlife. To ensure a successful and coordinated response effort, we regularly participate in spill response contingency planning and multi-agency response exercises with local, State and other Federal agencies, and with industry.

 

Accomplishments

Regionwide

The Service’s Great Lakes and Big Rivers Region Consults on Preauthorization to Use Chemical Countermeasures at Oil Spill Sites

Environmental Contaminants Biologist Mike Coffey from the Rock Island, IL Ecological Services Field Office and Jennifer Szymanski Regional Section 7 Coordinator completed an endangered species consultation for the conditional use of selected chemical countermeasures during an oil spill.  The selected chemical countermeasures included five oil solidifier products.  The conditional use limited the use to absorbent booms, pads, and pillows packed with the solidifier products.  Solidifier products help clump the oil that is spread out on the surface of water to allow easier removal of the spilled oil.  The consultation results indicate that the solidifier products can have low toxicity and the use within an area already affected by oil does not cause an additional adverse affect to federally listed endangered and threatened species or their Critical Habitat.  This action will help lessen the impacts of oil spills on Service trust resources and speed up the environmental clean up to the benefit of the public.

Illinois

Hines Emerald Dragonfly Critical Habitat Affected by Lockport Oil Spill

On December 14, 2010 an underground pipeline owned by West Shore Pipeline Co. and operated by Buckeye Partners L.P. released approximately 21,000 gallons of crude oil near Lockport, Illinois.   The oil entered a roadside ditch and flowed through a culvert into wetlands designated as critical habitat for the endangered Hines emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana).  Staff from the Chicago Field Office responded immediately to the incident.  Edward Karecki (Environmental Contaminants Specialist) worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the responsible parties to monitor and contain the release.   Mike Coffey, Environmental Contaminants biologist from the Rock Island, IL Ecological Services Field Office assisted the Chicago, IL Ecological Services Field Office on the spill. The interactions with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promoted additional training opportunities for the National Memorandum of Agreement between our agency, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on emergency endangered species consultations.  The area potentially affected by the release and response action is over 320 acre.  Remediation of the site is ongoing.    Restoration and monitoring of the site will continue into the future.  

 

Endangered Species Threatened by Romeoville Oil Spill

On September 9, 2010 an underground pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. released approximately 300,000 gallons of crude oil in Romeoville, Illinois.   The oil entered roadside ditches, the sewer system and surface water.   The release was located upgradient of the Romeoville Nature Preserve.  Portions of this preserve are designated as critical habitat for the endangered Hines emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana).   The endangered leafy prairie clover (Dalea foliosa) is also present on the siteStaff from the Chicago Field Office responded immediately to the incident.  Edward Karecki (Environmental Contaminants Specialist) worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the responsible party to monitor, contain and limit the impact of the release.   Mike Coffey from the Rock Island, IL Ecological Services Field Office assisted the Chicago, IL Ecological Services Field Office on the spill. The area potentially affected by the release and response actions is over 333 acres.    Monitoring at the site will continue into the future.  

 

Upper Mississippi River Area Contingency Planning

Environmental Contaminants Program staff from the Rock Island, IL Ecological Services Field Office maintained membership and participation in planning activities for the Upper Mississippi River Area Contingency Planning Team, Quad Cities SubArea Contingency Planning Team, and the St. Louis SubArea Contingency Planning Team. 

 

Michigan

Helping Wildlife During Oil and Chemical Spills:  Interagency Planning in Michigan

The East Lansing Field Office organized and hosted a meeting for the state and federal agencies that have responded to oiled wildlife incidents recently in Michigan.  The purpose of the meeting was to have candid discussions of lessons learned so that we could better prepare for future events.  Attendees included representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

 

We discussed issues including leadership and on-site organizational structure, coordination between the Incident Command and our home agencies, communication, training and drill needs, wildlife capture techniques and decision-making, public outreach (including social media), the role of local rehabilitators, contact and asset lists, contracting and logistics, and spill planning updates underway at MDNR, MDEQ and USFWS.

 

Kalamazoo River - Enbridge Pipeline Rupture

Enbridge Energy Partners LLP (Enbridge) reported a 30-inch pipeline ruptured on Monday, July 26, 2010, near Marshall, Michigan. The release, estimated at over 800,000 gallons, entered Talmadge Creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River. The Kalamazoo River was in floodstage at the time of the discharge, and the oil flowed down the river and into its floodplain for 35 miles downstream. The Service responded immediately and began rescuing oiled wildlife, assessing damages caused by the spill, and assisting the U.S. EPA in evaluating the risks and benefits of different response strategies. The Service mobilized over 50 people to work on-site over the first two months of the spill response and is continuing to conduct a natural resource damage assessment.

 

Restoring natural resources that were lost or injured by the oil spill was initiated on March 1, 2012 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Interior, along with their federal, state and tribal co-trustees. Read more 

 

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Briefed on Service’s Role in Spill Preparedness, Response and Restoration

On November 15, 2010, Lisa Williams, an Environmental Contaminants Program biologist with the East Lansing Field Office provided a briefing to representatives of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative in Chicago, IL, on the role of the Service in preparing for spills; responding to them; assessing injuries to fish, wildlife and habitats; and using Natural Resource Damage Assessment to restore injured natural resources and make the public whole.  

 

Lisa and speakers from the U.S. EPA, U.S. Coast Guard, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and Chicago Reclamation District alternated giving pieces of their presentations to give the GLSLCI an overview of how the various authorities work together and separately to address different aspects of prevention, preparedness, response, and restoration.

 

Minnesota

Twin Cities Field Office Environmental Contaminants Program Assists Regional Spill Contingency Planning

The Environmental Contaminants Program at the Twin Cities Ecological Services Field Office is assisting a cross-programmatic effort in Region 3 to develop a Regional spill contingency planning, response, and restoration plan to enhance protection and conservation of migratory birds and their habitats in the event of a spill.  Building on lessons learned from experience in the Gulf oil spill and recent major pipeline releases in the Region, the plan is intended to specify the roles and responsibilities of each Service Program Office throughout the Region to assist response actions and to restore resources impacted by spills.

 

Missouri

Mississippi River/Missouri Bootheel Area Spill Contingency Planning

Environmental Contaminants Program (EC) biologists from the Columbia Missouri Field Office (CMFO) participated in a spill planning exercise for the middle Mississippi Missouri River within southeast Missouri’s Bootheel region, which also includes parts of the states of Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas along with the Rock Island Field Office (RIFO) Environmental Contaminants  Biologist, US EPA, US Coast Guard, and state and local emergency response and planning personnel.  This exercise will assist emergency response personnel identify sensitive areas that are important to trust resources and plan responses that will reduce or eliminate impacts to these areas in the case of a spill.

 


 

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Last updated: October 29, 2012
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