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Trustees Open 49-Day Public Comment Period on Draft Restoration Plan for April 2006 Oil Spill from Container Ship in Delaware Bay, Delaware


01/16/2013


Atlantic horseshoe crabs spawning Atlantic horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) are shown spawning on the shoreline at Mispillion Harbor, Delaware, in early June 2008. Restoration of this spawning beach is one of the preferred natural resource restoration alternatives in the Draft Restoration Plan. Photo credit: Gregory Breese, FWS.

 

On January 16, 2013, the federal and State natural resource trustees opened a 49-day public comment period on “Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Bermuda Islander Oil Spill, Delaware Bay.” This Draft Restoration Plan presents the seven natural resource restoration alternatives evaluated by the trustees and identifies preferred projects designed to restore natural resources and natural resource services injured by the oil spill from the M/V Bermuda Islander in Delaware Bay, Delaware, in April 2006.

The natural resource trustees in this case include:

  • State of Delaware, represented by Department on Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and,
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

On April 25, 2006, an undetermined amount of bunker fuel oil was released from the container ship M/V Bermuda Islander while traveling through Delaware Bay in Delaware. Approximately 40 miles of shoreline in Delaware and 1 mile of shoreline in New Jersey were fouled by the oil spill. The trustees, in cooperation with the responsible parties, determined that the following natural resources were potentially injured by the oil spill: shoreline habitat; horseshoe crabs and their habitat; surface water resources, including fish; intertidal sediments; wildlife; and, recreational uses.

In December 2008, the trustees settled natural resource damage claims with the owner and operator of the M/V Bermuda Islander through an administrative Settlement Agreement. This settlement reimbursed $63,645 of the trustees’ past assessment costs and provided $206,355 for planning, implementing and monitoring natural resource restoration projects.

The preferred natural resource restoration alternatives identified by the trustees in this Draft Restoration Plan are:

  • Marsh restoration of the Fitzgerald Property near the mouth of Mispillion River;
  • Restoration of a Mispillion Harbor (Swain’s) Beach; and,
  • Educational signage along Delaware Bay beaches informing the public about the ecology and importance of horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebird stopovers.

Written comments on the Draft Restoration Plan must be received by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife by Thursday, March 7, 2013.

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