|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.