AR-News: Spill claims few wildlife casualties
wolfcrest at hotmail.com
Mon May 3 18:55:45 EDT 2004
Spill claims few wildlife casualties
By Sophia Kazmi
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
CORDELIA - Veterinarian Michael Ziccardi is happy about one aspect of last
week's Suisun Marsh oil spill -- the small number of animal causalities.
By Saturday evening, searchers rescued 13 birds and a beaver that later had
to be euthanized, and they found 15 birds and six mammals dead.
"We are pleasantly surprised," said Ziccardi, program director of the Oiled
Wildlife Care Network. "For the amount of oil out there, we are happy with
Up to 60,000 gallons of diesel spilled into the marsh from a Kinder Morgan
Energy Partners pipeline. The fuel is contained in a 242-acre section of the
marsh, said Dana Michaels, spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish
and Game. No endangered animals or protected species have been affected by
the spill, she said. Michaels provided the evening's count of affected
Workers from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, Fish and Game and other
agencies have been searching from dawn to dusk for wildlife, Ziccardi said.
The task is especially hard because affected birds sometimes hide in thick
brush seeking warmth. Covered in diesel, their feathers are no longer
waterproof, so they stay out of the cold water, Ziccardi said.
At the same time, the workers have been trying to scare curious animals away
from the marsh. Some animals are staying away because of the frenzy of human
activity, Ziccardi said.
Unlike crude oil, diesel is clear, making it hard to see on animals. So
workers are smelling out where and how bad the damage is to the animals.
Animals found alive are taken to the center -- which is just a few miles
from the spill. There, they are examined and given food and water. Only when
they are finally over their shock are the animals washed and dried. Workers
then try to introduce the birds slowly back into water at the center. This
process takes 10 to 14 days, Ziccardi said.
Land animals are usually transferred to other centers for care.
Pipeline workers laboring through the night have removed the damaged
pipeline and replaced it with 50 feet of new line, Michaels said. The
damaged pipe will be examined to determine the cause of the leak, she said.
Once the new pipe is certified by the state fire marshal and U.S. Department
of Transportation, the new line could be running as early as today.
Fish and Game is still determining the spill's impact on the marsh.
"The assessment will take some time before we'll know the full damage,"
More than 100 people have been working on the repairs since Wednesday, when
the leak was first reported to authorities, Michaels said.
Reach Sophia Kazmi at 925-847-2122 or skazmi at cctimes.com.
"One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or
torture an animal and get away with it" Margaret Mead.
FREE pop-up blocking with the new MSN Toolbar get it now!
More information about the AR-News