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Service responds to another large oil spill. This time in the Midwest

Date Posted: October 1, 2008

On August 10th, 2008, a pipeline rupture released 5,780 barrels of crude oil into upland forest and wetland habitats near Albion in south eastern, Illinois. The affected wetlands included bottomland forests and sloughs of former river channels of Elm Creek which flows into the Little Wabash River, a short distance from the spill site. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Contaminants Program biologists provided technical assistance to the oil company and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the emergency response. The Service technical assistance included measures to minimize the impacts of the response on wetlands, migratory birds, and federally listed endangered species. The wetland impacts included road construction, tree clearing, and building earthen dams to stop the oil from spreading further in the wetlands and sloughs. Officials recovered a couple of dead oiled ducks after the pipeline rupture. Fortunately, fall migration of waterfowl had not yet started so that there was limited waterfowl bird use in the affected wetlands. All of the oil in the water should will be removed before fall migration begins. Biologists focused on the protection of two federally listed endangered species found in the area. The endangered fat pocketbook mussel (Potamilus capax) is in the Little Wabash River and the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) which lives in the bottomland forests in this part of Illinois. Due to Environmental Contaminants Program assistance, the Federal Agency taking the lead in responding to the spill and oil company were able to avoid removing trees that may be used by Indiana bats during the construction of roads and clearings needed for the heavy equipment. The emergency response concluded with over 2,200 barrels of crude oil being recovered from the wetlands. The response effort will now shift into the remediation and mitigation phase. Environmental Contaminants Program biologists will continue to the monitor the situation and provide technical assistance for the restoration of the affected wetlands.

Contacts:

Michael Coffey (309)757-5800 x206

Links:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program
Midwest Region - Natural Resource Damage Assessments
Federally-listed Endangered and Threatened Species in Illinois

Illinois Department of Natural Resources: State-listed Endangered and Threatened Species in Illinois

Last updated: February 13, 2013