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St. Lawrence Oiled Wildlife Incident Source Unknown

Map of St. Lawrence Island detailing the location of Gambell and Savoonga
St. Lawrence Oiled Wildlife Incident 1 November 8, 2012.

Map of St. Lawrence Island detailing the location of Gambell and Savoonga St. Lawrence Oiled Wildlife Incident 1 November 8, 2012.

MAP: Alaska DEC

ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
Division of Spill Prevention and Response
Prevention and Emergency Response Program

 
SITUATION REPORT
St. Lawrence Oiled Wildlife Incident

SITREP # 1
SPILL #: 12389931001
TIME/DATE OF DISTRIBUTION:
5:00 p.m. on November 9, 2012

POTENTIAL RESPONSIBLE PARTY (PRP):
The responsible party is unknown at this time.

INCIDENT LOCATION:
Reports of oiled wildlife have been confirmed in the St. Lawrence Island communities of Gambell and Savoonga. The source of the discharge has not yet been determined.

TIME/DATE OF SPILL:
On November 7, 2012 at 12:16 p.m., ADEC received a National Response Center (NRC) incident report regarding an unknown discharge which had effected wildlife, and caused oil soaked debris to wash ashore.

TYPE/AMOUNT OF PRODUCT SPILLED:
At this time, the product spilled is unknown. The ADEC has provided samples to a local laboratory in an effort to characterize the substance.

CAUSE OF SPILL:
The cause of the release is unknown.

SOURCE CONTROL:
Source control has not been established. At this time the source of the release remains unknown.

RESPONSE ACTION:
ADEC is mobilizing one responder in coordination with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to St. Lawrence Island on November 9, 2012. The team will visit Savoonga and Gambell to assess the situation. A C-130 over flight with USCG and ADEC representatives is scheduled for November 9, 2012 to conduct aerial observation of St. Lawrence Island and the surrounding waters.
A Unified Command for this incident response was established the morning of November 8, 2012. The Unified Command is made up of federal, state and local agencies. A command post has been established at the USCG facility in Anchorage.
ADEC is working with a local laboratory to characterize the substance found on the recovered wildlife.

RESOURCES AFFECTED: St. Lawrence Island
At the time of this report, there have been confirmed reports of oiled wildlife and Unified Command is working to investigate the extent of the affected species.

There are many environmentally sensitive habitats within the area that have the potential to be affected. Nearshore waters are an important habitat for Spectacled and Steller’s eiders and have been designated as a critical habitat area. Many other seabirds may be present. Ringed and spotted seals, as well as clams and crabs may be found in the nearshore environment. Blue, fin, orca and North Pacific right whales are present within the nearshore and offshore environment. Stellar sea lions are found in the area and are listed within the Endangered Species Act. St. Lawrence Island lagoons are habitats for overwintering waterfowl and are connected to anadromous streams.

Potential impacts to subsistence fishing and hunting areas are being monitored.

FUTURE PLANS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
ADEC will continue to monitor the response actions and work as part of Unified Command to determine the source of the pollution and work towards remediation.

WEATHER:
Today: Mostly cloudy; 20 to 30°F; winds 20 mph from the East.

UNIFIED COMMAND AND PERSONNEL:
SOSC: Tom DeRuyter, ADEC
FOSC: Captain Paul Mehler III, USCG
LOSC: Myron Kingeekuk, City of Savoonga
LOSC: Erika Apatiki, City of Gambell
Field SOSC: Paul Lhotka, ADEC

TIME/DATE OF THE NEXT REPORT DISTRIBUTION:
4:00 PM on November 8, 2012

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT: Wes Ghormley, ADEC (907) 451-2164

AGENCY/STAKEHOLDER NOTIFICATION LIST: This situation report was distributed to the agencies listed on the standard distribution list, which includes the governor’s office, Senator Begich’s office, State Emergency Operations Center, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other state agencies. This situation report was also distributed to other agencies and stakeholders.

 

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