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Patricia M. Harris
View FY00 Proposal
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Many mussel beds in the area of the Exxon
Valdez oil spill, particularly those on soft sediment, were not
cleaned immediately after the spill. Consequently these beds had high
concentrations of hydrocarbons in sediments and tissues.
Although the general assumption was that natural processes would rapidly
reduce hydrocarbon concentrations, substantial quantities of oil
remained trapped in these beds 3 years after the spill, and contaminated
mussel beds were a potential source of chronic hydrocarbon exposure for
vertebrate and invertebrate predators.
The Oil Spill musssel bed project assesses
the recovery of 28 mussel beds in Prince William Sound that still had
significant concentrations of Exxon Valdez oil when last sampled
in 1995 or 1996. In 1994 we replaced oiled sediments with clean
sediments in 12 of the beds. Replaced sediments remained clean though
1995 and mussel hydrocarbon concentrations decreased significantly.
However, 1996 samples indicated recontamination of the replaced
sediments and the potential for recontamination of some mussel beds and
mussels. Manual restoration of mussel beds contaminated by Exxon
Valdez oil was partially successful in reducing hydrocarbon
concentrations in mussels and sediments more rapidly than would have
occurred in the absence of restoration.
NRDA Annual Report - Restoration Study 103-1
Babcock, M.M., S.D. Rice, P.M. Harris, and C.C. Brodersen. 1996.
Recovery monitoring and restoration of intertidal oiled mussel beds in
Prince William Sound impacted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill: 1991
and 1992, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill State/Federal Natural Resource
Damage Assessment Annual Report (Restoration Study Number 103-1),
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine
Fisheries Service, Auke Bay Laboratory, Juneau, Alaska.
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