Fuel Oil Spill Threatens San Francisco Bay's Wildlife & Ecosystem

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 31 (UPI) — A bunker fuel oil spill is threatening San Francisco Bay’s ecosystem, which is already stressed by drought, ecologists say.

The spill, discovered Friday, doesn’t appear as large or as dispersed as 2007′s disastrous Cosco Busan spill, in which dumped more than 50,000 gallons of bunker oil into the bay. But wildlife officials say they’re worried about its impact on an estuary that is already threatened by a long-lasting drought, rising ocean levels and urban runoff, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“We’re optimistic that it won’t be as devastating, but we’re still in that window where it’ll be about how much they can contain and collect,” Deb Self, executive director of San Francisco BayKeeper, told the newspaper. “Once the tide starts going out and they lose control of the slick, we might see impacts on the shoreline again.”

The Chronicle said key areas of concern were Richardson Bay, Brooks Island off Richmond, and Keil Cove near Tiburon where sea birds nest and could become covered in oil.

The last commercial fishery in San Francisco Bay, the herring season, was canceled this year to protect dwindling fish stocks, which some have blamed on the 2007 fuel oil spill.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Birds, Drought, Fish
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