Hazardous Substances and Oil Spills
Contingency Planning and Response
The goal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Spill Contingency Planning and Response is to emphasize early (contingency) planning and cooperation at the local, regional, and national levels in an effort to minimize injuries to fish, wildlife, sensitive environments. When an oil or chemical spill occurs, our contaminants biologists respond to protect our Nation's natural resources. During a spill incident, we provide technical expertise to the On-Scene Coordinator to minmize harm to threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, freshwater fishes, and the supporting habitats for these biological resources. We also oversee the collection and rehabilitation of oiled and injured wildlife. To ensure a successful and coordinated response effort, we participate in spill response contingency planning and mult-agency response exercises.
Oil Spill Contingency Plans for our Area and Related Materials
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Contingency Plan
U.S. Department of the Interior Emergency Preparedness and Response Strategy
USEPA Region 5 Regional Integrated Contingency Plan
USEPA Region 7 Regional Integrated Contingency Plan
Upper Mississippi River Response Manual and Resource Plan
Quad Cities SubArea Contingency Plan
Greater St. Louis SubArea Contingency Plan
Great Rivers SubArea Contingency Plan in prep
Omaha Council Bluffs SubArea Contingency Plan
Sioux-Lands SubArea Contingency Plan
Peoria County Oil Annex
Inland Spills Manual
Shoreline Assessment Manual (SCAT)
Oiled Migratory Bird Best Management Practices Manual
Wildlife Search and Rescue Manual
Bird Hazing Manual
Upper Mississippi River Pool 13 Overview, Response Strategy, and Incident Action Plan
Upper Mississippi River Oil Spill Training Exercise
On September 27th, 2012, contaminants biologists from the Rock Island, Illinois Ecological Services Field Office and wildlife biologists from Wildlife Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture co-hosted a wildlife response exercise along the Upper Mississippi River in Montrose, Iowa. The widllife response training was a parallel exercise with emergency responders practicing various oil containment and other response techniques. The exercise included safety, wildlife laws, Incident Command System, oiled wildlife capture, dead wildlife salvage, and oiled wildlife rehabilitation.
Classroom instruction for the Montrose exercise prior to the field training. Photographs by USFWS; Mike Coffey
Personnel from the U.S. Department of Agriculture prepare to launch a cannon net.
Deputy Wildlife Branch Chief briefs rescue boat crews.
Click here to download an Incident Command System manual designed for natural resource agencies.
Click here to read a news article about the Montrose oil spill readiness exercise.
North Raccoon River, Iowa Oil Spill
The largest oil spill in Iowa occurred on September 13th, 2012 into the North Raccoon River. Several thousands of gallons of used motor oil discharged from a valve for a greenhouse heating system tank located in Jefferson, Iowa. The used motor oil flowed down a ravine and into the North Raccoon River. Several miles of sand bar beaches and side channels were oiled. The cleanup lasted a couple of weeks. Contaminants biologists from the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assisted in the oil spill cleanup by providing technical expertise to the emergency response personnel.
The North Raccoon River is part of the Raccoon River watershed in central Iowa. It is a wild flowing river with many riffles, runs, pools, sand and gravel bars, and small side channels. The side channels are federally listed as Critical Habitat for the federally and State listed endangered Topeka shiner. The Topeka shiner is a headwater stream minnow that also uses floodplain wetlands in a number of tributaries to the North Raccoon River. The North Raccoon River serves as a corridor for dispersal and connectivity between the Topeka shiner populations in the tributaries. The river also provides foraging habitat for migrating shorebirds and other aquatic dependent migratory birds.
The technical expertise provided to the response agencies included the development of best management practices as part of the emegency endangered species consultation for the Topeka shiner. The practices were designed to minimize the impacts to the Topeka shiner and its habitats. The contaminants biologists also mapped the entire length of the oiled sand bar beaches and side channels. The biologists installed bird deterrent features to haze migratory birds from the oiled shorelines until the response personnel could remove the surface oild from the beaches. A few birds did get oiled, but could not be captured for rehabilitation.
The U.S. Department of the Interior led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is preparing to conduct a natural resource damage assessment. The results of the natural resource damage assessment will be used to determine the scale of restoratin projects to offset the injuries and losses to natural resources from the oil spill and oil spill response. The restoration projects are constructed or paid for by the responsible party so that the public is made whole.
Oil spill personnel discuss cleanup alternatives for an oiled gravelly beach along the North Raccoon River. Photographs by USFWS; Mike Coffey
Oil spill personnel under the oversight of USEPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service place absorbent booms around an oil slick in Topeka shiner Critical Habitat.
A biologist from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources places a bamboo pole with shiny mylar tape at an oiled patch of sandy beach. The mylar tape flapping in the wind scares away the migrating shorebirds so that they do not forage for invertebrates in the oily sand. Note the green colored water from an algae bloom likely related to nutrients released from the oil. Algae blooms can stress aquatic life by decreasing dissolved oxygen concentrations. The dissolved oxygen concentrations were low, but not enought to kill fish.
Click here to read a news article about the North Raccoon River oil spill.
Click here to learn more about Pollution Response Fund Agreements used by response agencies to support natural resource agencies.
Click here to learn more about the North Raccoon River.
Click here to learn more about the Topeka shiner.
To request more information, please contact:
Environmental Contaminants Program Team Leader
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1511 47th Avenue
Moline, IL 61265
Phone: 309-757-5800 Extension 206
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