Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

1997 Humboldt Bay Oil Spill Restoration to Benefit North Coast Wildlife

September 12, 2007


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Federal, State Agencies Release Draft Restoration Plan for Public Comment; Public Meeting Set for Sept. 19 in Arcata

Restoration and protection of rare native birds and wetlands along the North Coast would be achieved through six restoration projects to be carried out with the proceeds of a proposed settlement for injuries caused by the 1997 M/V Kure oil spill in Humboldt Bay.

Federal and state agencies serving as natural resource trustees (Trustees) have proposed the plan on behalf of the public to compensate for the injuries caused by the spill. About 4,000 birds died and 6,200 acres of shoreline habitat were exposed to oil in the Nov. 5, 1997 incident at the Louisiana Pacific Export Dock in Samoa, CA. A mooring "dolphin" punctured a tank on the Kure, and 4,500 gallons of fuel oil discharged in the bay. Some of the oil flowed into the ocean and carried nearly 18 miles north.

The Trustees are releasing the draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (DARP/EA) for public comment on Sept. 14. Written comments may be submitted through Oct. 29, 2007. A public meeting on the plan is set for Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7 pm in the Arcata Community Center Senior Dining Room, 321 Community Parkway, Arcata.

The restoration projects described in the DARP/EA would help affected species and habitat. In Arcata, the restoration projects include a contribution to the McDaniel Slough Wetland Enhancement Project. Funding would be used to help remove the tide gate at McDaniel Slough, build some new levees and breach the bay-front levee as well as develop new hiking trails in the approximately 225-acre effort.

The Trustees also propose funding for five other projects to help rare native birds. Reading Rock, off the northern Humboldt coast, would be restored as a murre breeding ground. Reading Rock once was a breeding site for over 1,000 common murre pairs but now is nearly devoid of the species. Two other projects would benefit the marbled murrelet which is listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. One is the purchase of a conservation easement to protect old growth redwoods for nesting by murrelets in Del Norte County, the other is a project to control ravens, jays and crows that are murrelet predators. Two other projects would help protect Western and Clarks? grebe colonies around Northern California lakes and help protect brown pelican roosting sites in Humboldt County.

The following agencies are designated natural resource trustees under the federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and State law, for natural resources injured by the Kure oil spill: the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG); the California State Lands Commission (CSLC); and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

The Trustees prepared the draft DARP/EA, describing the injuries resulting from the Spill and proposing restoration alternatives. The plan reflects consideration of input from representatives of Kure Shipping S.A. and Patt Manfield & Co. (collectively "Kure" or the "Responsible Party"), and work conducted in cooperation with the Responsible Party.

Written comments may be sent through Oct. 29, 2007 to: Carolyn Marn, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825 (fax: 916-414-6713) or via email to To obtain a copy of the plan, visit or contact Carolyn Marn.

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.

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