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Witt Penn Bridge, Kearny, NJ

Incident News

- Fri, 02/27/2015 - 16:00
On 28 February 2015 the USCG Sector NY contacted NOAA to report that the Kearny Fire Dept. reported a vehicle accident on Route 7 at the Witt Penn Bridge in Hudson County, NJ. There was a discharge of approximately 200 gallons of diesel fuel from a United States postal service truck’s saddle tank. The oil made its way into the storm sewer and then to the Hackensack Rived. .

Auke Bay Harbor Used Oil Release, Juneau, Alaska

Incident News

- Sun, 02/22/2015 - 16:00
On February 22, 2015, the USCG received a report of a large oil sheen in the Auke Bay Harbor, AK, approximately 10 miles north of Juneau, AK. The source was unknown. The material was tentatively identified as used motor oil.

CSX Train Derailment, Mount Carbon, West Virginia

Incident News

- Tue, 02/17/2015 - 16:00
On February 16, 2015, a CSX train derailed near the Kanawha River in West Virginia. The train was hauling Bakken crude oil. An unknown amount of crude oil was released into Armstrong Creek which feeds into the Kanawha River. Initially, the derailed train cars caused a huge fire, but the fire has been extinguished at this time. The towns of Adena Village and Boomer Bottom have both been evacuated (evacuation of 1 mile radius from derailment). The area has heavy snow and extremely cold temperatures. USCG Sector Ohio Valley has requested on-scene NOAA SSC support.

Pleasure Craft, New London, CT

Incident News

- Tue, 02/17/2015 - 16:00
On February 18, 2015, the USCG reported a sunken 31 ft vessel at Thamesport marina in New London, CT. with about 100 gallons of diesel onboard, batteries, and unknown drum onboard the vessel with significant sheening coming from the vessel.

FV Savannah Ray Grounding, Kodiak, Alaska

Incident News

- Sun, 02/15/2015 - 16:00
On February 16, 2015, the 81-foot fishing vessel Savannah Ray went hard aground on the southeast coast of Long Island, in Chiniak Bay, near Kodiak, Alaska. Six crew members airlifted off by USCG helo. USCG requested NOAA SSC to provide resources at risk analysis.

Shell refinery, Martinez, CA

Incident News

- Mon, 02/09/2015 - 16:00
On February 10, 2015, the Shell refinery in Martinez, CA reported a spill of crude oil from a line undergoing hydrostatic testing. The release occurred near the seaward end of the Shell pier, where fixed containment boom is maintained. Response contractors were on-scene before sunset and applied additional containment boom and deployed skimmers. USCG Sector San Francisco requested trajectory support.

CPR Train Derailment, Balltown, Iowa

Incident News

- Thu, 02/05/2015 - 16:00
On February 6, 2015, the EPA requested denatured ethanol fate and trajectory associated with the CPR Train Derailment. The CPR Train Derailment occurred on February 4, 2015, along the banks of the Mississippi River approximately 10 miles north of Dubuque, Iowa, near the city of Balltown.

F/V AC3 , ~4 miles SW of Indian Pass, FL

Incident News

- Tue, 02/03/2015 - 16:00
On February 4, 2015, the NOAA SSC was contacted by USCG MSU Panama City regarding a 46 ft sunken fishing vessel, the AC3, located approximately 4 miles south-south-west of Indian Pass, FL. An estimated 250 gallons of marine diesel is onboard. Salvage operations are planned and USCG has requested trajectory for a worst case discharge (WCD) and fate information.

High Island mystery sheen, ~20 miles east of Sabine Pass, TX

Incident News

- Sun, 02/01/2015 - 16:00
On February 2, 2015, the USCG Port Arthur notified the NOAA SSC of an intermittent appearance of a sheen in the vicinity of an abandoned pipeline in the High Island block, near Sabine Pass, Texas. USCG requested a review of available data to determine if there have been recurring reports of sheen in the vicinity that may be attributed to an unknown source.

Vapor cloud, Off Oceanside, CA

Incident News

- Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:00
On January 28, 2015, USCG Sector San Diego contacted their NOAA SSC to report an unidentified vapor cloud 14 miles offshore of Oceanside, CA. USCG aircrew noticed a pungent or chemical-like odor in the area. USCG requested NOAA assistance in determining what the substance might be and its potential trajectory.

Hydrogen Peroxide release, Olympia, WA

Incident News

- Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:00
On January 28, 2015, the USCG Sector Puget Sound contacted NOAA ERD to report a release of 5-10,000 gallons of 50% hydrogen peroxide from a storage tank at an upland facility. The release was getting into storm drains that discharge into Puget Sound. Sector Puget Sound requested aquatic toxicity information on the substance.

Bridger Pipeline Release, Yellowstone River, Montana

Incident News

- Thu, 01/22/2015 - 16:00
On January 23, 2015, the EPA contacted ERD requesting oil fate and trajectory for the Bridger Pipeline Release. The Bridge Pipeline Release occurred on January 17, 2015, in the Yellowstone River approximately seven river miles upstream of the city of Glendive in Dawson County.

TUG NALANI, Off Barbers Point, HI

Incident News

- Wed, 01/21/2015 - 16:00
On January 22, 2015, the Tug NALANI sank in 378 fathoms of water off Barbers Point, Oahu. The tug was loaded with 75,000 gallons of diesel. Sheen has been reported in the area. USCG requested trajectory analysis and scientific support.

Eyak Fishing Vessel Grounding, Sitka, Alaska

Incident News

- Mon, 01/19/2015 - 16:00
On January 20, 2015, USCG was notified that the 71-foot F/V Eyak grounded off of Calligan Island, on its way back to Sitka, Alaska. The vessel was carrying approximately 800 gallons of diesel and 200 gallons of gasoline. No discharge has been reported yet, but there has been bad weather and the vessel rolled after the vents were plugged. USCG requested weather, oil fate and trajectory analysis.

Possible mystery spill, East San Francisco Bay, CA

Incident News

- Thu, 01/15/2015 - 16:00
On January 16, 2015, the USCG Sector San Francisco notified the NOAA SSC of a bird stranding event along the Eastern shore of San Francisco Bay (between San Mateo Bridge and Alameda’s Robert Crown Regional Park). Initial reports suggested that affected birds may be oiled, but later reports and feather analyses determined that the substance was a non-petroleum substance.

Leaking Pipeline, Port Sulphur, LA

Incident News

- Tue, 01/13/2015 - 16:00
On January 14, 2015 Hillcorp Energy experienced a crude oil leak from a 4" pipeline located in Bastain Bay, Port Sulphur, LA. Reported amount released was 0.5 barrels, and source has been secured. Sector NOLA has a team enroute, and has requested a trajectory.

After a Century Apart, NOAA and Partners Reunite a Former Wetland with San Francisco Bay’s Tides

From NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

- Thu, 01/08/2015 - 14:59

The first of four breaches of tidal levees separating Cullinan Ranch from the tide waters of San Francisco Bay. (NOAA)

Scooping away the last narrow band of mud, a bright yellow excavator released a rush of brackish water into an area cut off from the tides for more than a hundred years.

The 1,200 acre field now filling with water, known as Cullinan Ranch due to its history as a hay farm, is once again becoming a tidal wetland.

On January 6, 2015, more than 100 people celebrated the reintroduction of tide waters to Cullinan Ranch in Solano County, California. For decades before, earthen levees had separated it from the nearby Napa River and San Pablo Bay, a northern corner of the San Francisco Bay Estuary.

With three more levee breaches planned by the end of January, restoration of this 1,500 acre site is nearly complete, with efforts to monitor the project’s progress to follow. Surrounded by state and federal wildlife lands, Cullinan Ranch will fill in a gap in coastal habitat as it becomes integrated with San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

How Low Can It Flow

For the most part, Cullinan Ranch will be covered in open water because years of farming, beginning in the 1880s, caused the land to sink below sea level. The open water will provide places for animals such as fish and birds—as well as the invertebrates they like to eat—to find food and rest after big storms.

However, some areas of the property will remain above the low tide level, creating conditions for the plant pickleweed to thrive. While a succulent like cacti, pickleweed can survive wet and salty growing conditions. (Fun fact: Some people enjoy cooking and eating pickleweed. When blanched, it apparently tastes salty and somewhat crispy.) The salt marsh harvest mouse, native to California and one of the few mammals able to drink saltwater, also will take advantage of the habitat created by the pickleweed in the recovering wetland.

Wildlife will not be the only ones enjoying the restoration of Cullinan Ranch. A major highway passes by the site, and Cullinan Ranch has experienced numerous upgrades to improve recreational access for people brought there by Highway 37. Soon anyone will be able to hike on the newly constructed trails, fish off the pier, and launch kayaks from the dock.

Turning Money into Marshes

The restoration of Cullinan Ranch from hay field to tidal wetland has been in the works for a long time, brought about by a range of partners and funding agencies, including NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Wildlife Conservation Board, and Ducks Unlimited. NOAA provided several sources of funding to help finish this restoration project.

In addition to $900,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NOAA contributed $650,000 through a community-based restoration partnership with Ducks Unlimited and $1.65 million awarded for natural resource damages through the Castro Cove trustee council. The latter funding was part of a $2.65 million settlement with Chevron as a result of the nearby Chevron Richmond Refinery discharging mercury and oil pollution into Castro Cove for years. Cullinan Ranch and Breuner Marsh are the two restoration projects Chevron funded to make up for this pollution.

NOAA is working on a number of tidal wetland restoration projects in the north San Francisco Bay. (NOAA)

Cullinan Ranch is one of the largest restoration projects in the north San Francisco Bay, but it is far from the only one NOAA is involved with in the region. Helping reverse a century-long trend which saw many of the bay’s tidal wetlands disappear, NOAA has been working on a suite of projects restoring these historic and important coastal features in northern California.

Watch footage of the earthen levee being breached to reconnect the bay’s tide waters to Cullinan Ranch.


Recreational Vessel, Norwalk, CT

Incident News

- Tue, 01/06/2015 - 16:00
At 1600 on 7 January 2015 NOAA was notified by USCG Sector LIS of a sunken recreational boat at the Norwalk Boat Club with an an unknown quantity of gasoline onboard, as well as lubricating oil and batteries onboard. The USCG has requested NOAA prepare a resources at risk analysis for the area.

Adiponitrile Barge, MM 173 Tombigbee River east of Pennington, AL

Incident News

- Mon, 01/05/2015 - 16:00
At 1130 on January 6, 2015, USCG Sector Mobile notified NOAA SSC that a barge carrying 1,400 tons of Adiponitrile struck the Nehoela Bridge on the Tombigbee River and sustained minor damage. The barge has been pushed into the bank is being lightered and no chemical has been released. USCG requested trajectory for worst case discharge (WCD).

Our Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

From NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

- Wed, 12/31/2014 - 11:23

Good bye, 2014. Credit: Marcia Conner/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

While we have accomplished a lot in the last year, we know that we have plenty of work ahead of us in 2015.

As much as we wish it were so, we realize oil and chemical spills, vessel groundings, and marine debris will not disappear from the ocean and coasts in the next year. That means our experts have to be ready for anything, but specifically, for providing scientific solutions to marine pollution.

Here are our plans for doing that in 2015:

  1. Exercise more. We have big plans for participating in oil spill exercises and performing trainings that will better prepare us and others to deal with threats from marine pollution.
  2. Be safer. We work up and down the nation’s coastlines, from tropical to arctic environments. Many of these field locations are remote and potentially hazardous. We will continue to assess and improve our equipment and procedures to be able to work safely anywhere our services are needed.
  3. Keep others safe. We are improving our chemical response software CAMEO, which will help chemical disaster responders and planners get the critical data they need, when and where they need it.
  4. Get others involved. We are partnering with the University of Washington to explore ways average citizens can help contribute to oil spill science.
  5. Communicate more effectively. This spring, we will be hosting a workshop for Alaskan communicators and science journalists on research-based considerations for communicating about chemical dispersants and oil spills.
  6. Be quicker and more efficient. We will be releasing a series of sampling guidelines for collecting high-priority, time-sensitive data in the Arctic to support Natural Resource Damage Assessment and other oil spill science.
  7. Sport a new look. An updated, more mobile-friendly look is in the works for NOAA’s Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program website. Stay tuned for the coming changes at http://www.darrp.noaa.gov.
  8. Unlock access to data. We are getting ready to release public versions of an online tool that brings together data from multiple sources into a single place for easier data access, analysis, visualization, and reporting. This online application, known as DIVER Explorer, pulls together natural resource and environmental chemistry data from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill damage assessment, and also for the Great Lakes and U.S. coastal regions.
  9. Clean up our act. Or rather, keep encouraging others to clean up their act and clean up our coasts. We’re helping educate people about marine debris and fund others’ efforts to keep everyone’s trash, including plastics, out of our oceans.
  10. Say farewell. To oil tankers with single hulls, that is. January 1, 2015 marks the final phase-out of single hull tankers, a direct outcome of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

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