Wildlife found dead, oil spill cited

Wildlife around the Red Deer River continue to be affected by an oil spill earlier in June from a ruptured Plains Midstream Canada pipeline.

Wildlife around the Red Deer River continue to be affected by an oil spill earlier in June from a ruptured Plains Midstream Canada pipeline.

The company reported on Friday that three fish, one raven and a garter snake were found dead.

A team of 16 wildlife monitors, five biologists and one technician continue to conduct daily assessments and patrols, Plains says.

On June 7, up to 3,000 barrels (475,000 litres) of light sour crude oil was released into the Red Deer River from the pipeline about one km north of Sundre.

The oil from the spill made its way to Gleniffer Lake — a popular recreational area southwest of Red Deer.

The majority of the lake was reopened before the Canada Day long weekend.

Earlier in June a one-week old baby beaver made its way to the Medicine River Wildlife Centre — a facility 15 minutes west of the spill site.

The kit was found coated in oil close to the original spill site, north of Sundre.

During the first week of the spill, Carol Kelly, executive director at the centre, says four other patients joined the kit — an adult beaver, baby muskrat, Canada goose and baby crow.

“So I am hoping that has been the end of it,” Kelly said on Monday.

The baby muskrat and adult beaver have since been released back into the wild. The baby beaver is still at the centre.

The goose and crow did not survive.

“I think the numbers that are dead are about 40 but that includes fish. It’s kind of hard to rescue them,” Kelly said.

Plains says that over 245 personnel continue to clean-up at sites along the river. They are maintaining integrity of the booms, cutting and bagging oil vegetation, picking up debris and soaking up oil residue. Work hours were reduced from July 8 to 10 due to the hot weather that hit Central Alberta.

jjones@bprda.wpengine.com

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