News and Activities

EC Specialists Assist in Middle Mississippi River Oil Spill Preparation.

Date Posted: January 3, 2011

Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Contaminants Specialists joined other emergency spill responders from local, State, and Federal agencies in Cape Girardeau, Missouri to begin the process of mapping sensitive resources along the middle reaches of the Mississippi River. Mapping these resources is an essential part of the spill contingency planning process. The maps are used by spill responders to identify and minimize potential environmental effects on fish and wildlife, their habitat, and other sensitive environments resulting from oil spill response and removal actions. Maps include locations of, and information on, such things as National Wildlife Refuge units, endangered species, fish habitats, and migratory bird nesting areas. 

The next step in the oil spill planning and preparation process may be to prepare a SubArea Contingency Plan. SubAreas are locations within an Area Contingency Plan that warrant more detailed planning. Typically, subareas include locations with multiple sources for oil spills, a concentration of sensitive natural resources, and the need to coordinate multiple agencies. In addition to sensitive resource maps, SubArea Contingency Plans include response tactics, contact information for all involved agencies and each agency’s roles and responsibilities.

Image of Mississippi River BasinThe middle reaches of the Mississippi River support a high volume of commercial barge traffic especially near the confluence with the Ohio River. There are a number of crude oil and oil products pipelines that cross the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. There are many units within the National Wildlife Refuge System along the Mississippi River. There are a number of local emergency response agencies for each of the counties of the States along this reach of the Mississippi River including Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Several administrative regions for the Federal areas share borders in this subarea. It is important to develop a coordinated response in advance of an oil spill especially since oil from a spill will flow rapidly downstream in the Mississippi River and cross many jurisdictional boundaries. This reach of the Mississippi River is also within the New Madrid Seismic Zone with the potential to cause earth

quake related spill disasters.


Dave Mosby  Missouri 573-234-2132 (Agency Lead)

Mike Coffey  Illinois 309-757-5800

Tony Velasco Kentucky 502-695-0468

Steve Alexander Tennessee 931-528-6481

The Oil Spill Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Midwest Region’s Environmental Contaminants Program

Southeast Region’s Environmental Contaminants Program

Other Area and SubArea Spill Contingency Plans

National Level Exercise 2011 for the New Madrid Seismic Zone

Last updated: June 12, 2015