AUG. 24, 2018 — On August 21, members from NOAA’s OR&R and the Office of Coastal Management participated in an emergency response and preparedness workshop hosted by the PBNERR.
The reserve is home to one of the nation’s largest eelgrass beds. The nearly 8,000 acres of eelgrass in Padilla Bay serve as a nursery for salmon, herring, perch, and crabs, and is home to many other fish, invertebrates, birds, and marine mammals. Nearby petroleum refineries, and the transportation of their products, make this reserve a vulnerable site in the event of an oil spill. The workshop provided an opportunity to educate reserve staff and local responders on oil spill response and natural resource damage assessment and to identify gaps in local planning and preparedness through presentations and table top exercises. OR&R staff presented on oil spill response protocols, spill response modeling and tools, including ERMA (Environmental Response Management Application), and the latest science on oil impacts to nearshore resources. Participants included responders from NOAA, the United States Coast Guard, two tribal nations, Washington State, Skagit County, as well as representative from two local oil refineries. The workshop was a collaborative success, forming new connections and strengthening old relationships within the response community.