February 11th, 2014
Washington State’s Hood Canal, best known for its delicacies of shellfish and salmon, had an unwelcome visitor today, as the United States Navy accidentally spilled oily bilge water in to the fjord. Initially, the Navy reported that they had only spilled 150 gallons into the unique eco-system off the coast from the Olympic National Park. The Department of Ecology estimates the spill to be more than 2,000 gallons, producing an oil slick in the water at over a mile and a half long and nearly to the beaches of Shine Tidelands State Park.
UPDATE: The US Navy admits the spill is well over 2,000 gallons.
While most will write off a spill like this as a small mistake with no real lasting effects, an oil spill in the Hood Canal could be worse than you think. With millions of dollars of revenue generated for the local communities through fishing and shellfish harvesting, even an oil spill of this size could drastically effect the local economy.
Because the oil spill occurred today, our details are limited to just how extensive this oil spill will be. It won’t be devastating, but it might have some long lasting effects on the local eco-system. With the return of the Orcas in recent months to the Hood Canal, and an upcoming Coastal Cutthroat run coming in, the spill could do quite a bit of short term, local damage. It also might be quickly and safely cleaned up and this won’t be an issue. Either way, an oil spill in our waters needs to be known and needs to be reported. Especially when it is so close to a State Park that has clam digging and fishing opportunities. More about Shine Tidelands State Park: http://www.stateparks.com/shine_tidelands.html