Division of Spill Prevention and Response

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Beach Survey Update #1
On 2/22/05, a beach survey was conducted in Little South America to test the potential utility of this technique in monitoring indicator beaches in Unalaska Bay. Because tow net sampling data seems to have leveled off (no statistically significant change in encounter rate since mid-January), the beach surveys have been proposed as an alternate means for monitoring the bay for any changes in tarball concentration. The 2/22 beach survey resulted in the detection of a number of scattered tarballs ranging in size from a pea to a dollar bill. Tow net surveys in Captain’s Bay have shown no oil detection during the past few weeks. This preliminary data suggests that beach surveys might be a more sensitive detection method. Indicator beach segments in Wide Bay, Airport Beach, Summer Bay, Iliuliuk Bay, Dutch Harbor Spit, and Little South America will be surveyed regularly to watch for signs of new tarballs washing ashore. Tarballs that are observed on the beaches will be documented and, if feasible, removed for disposal.

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