Division of Spill Prevention and Response


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Beach Survey Update #2
On 2/24/05, the Fisheries Work Group met and endorsed a winter sampling plan that calls for the gradual phase-out of tow net sampling and increased reliance on tar ball beach surveys to monitor Unalaska Bay for the presence and abundance of tar balls. An initial beach survey was completed at Little South America on 2/22/05, and based on that survey, a protocol was developed by the Sampling Group with input from the state, the Coast Guard, and the RP. The protocol calls for an initial survey at each of six designated survey beaches. During the initial survey, tar ball observations will be recorded (photographs & waypoints) and mapped, and then they will be removed from the beach for disposal. During subsequent visits (each site will be surveyed every 2-3 days), tar ball encounters will be recorded as possible evidence of “new” oiling. Beach survey segments are located in known collector areas in Little South America, Airport Beach, Front Beach (Iliuliuk Bay), Summer Bay, Wide Bay, and the Dutch Harbor spit.





On 2/25/05, an initial survey was conducted on Airport beach. Approximately 64 tar balls were observed along one segment, and approximately 11 tar balls along another. All were documented and collected for disposal.
On 2/26/05, initial surveys were conducted on Front Beach, Summer Bay, and the spit. No tar balls were observed at the spit. A few isolated tar balls were observed on Front Beach. All but one had the appearance of asphalt and it was speculated that they might be of a different origin than other tar balls recently observed. More than 60 tar balls were observed in Summer Bay, some appearing to be “fresh.”
On 2/23/05, an initial survey was conducted on Wide Bay beach and no tar balls were observed. On 2/2705 a second survey was conducted and 3 or 4 tar balls, that appeared to be relatively fresh, were observed and removed. The Wide Bay beach survey will be conducted regularly by the SOSC and RP representatives on overflights.