Date of incident: March 4, 1999.
Location: Beaver Creek originates in the northwestern part of
the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, and flows in
a southeasterly direction for about 25 miles, joining the Warm Springs River at
river mile 19. Beaver Creek is the second-largest tributary of the Warm Springs
River and drains an area of 115 square miles.
Case status: Restoration Implementation Phase.
Overview: At approximately 12:30 AM on March 4, 1999, the
driver of an American Transport, Inc. tanker truck and trailer, loaded with
approximately 10,300 gallons of unleaded gasoline, lost control while
descending a grade on Oregon State Route 26. The truck jack-knifed and the
truck and trailer became separated. The truck tank dislodged from the truck
chassis and came to rest on Tribal property immediately adjacent to Beaver
Butte Creek just above the confluence with Beaver Creek, a tributary to the
Warm Springs River. The trailer came to rest approximately 100 feet further
south of the truck location, also on Tribal property. The tanks on both the
tanker truck and trailer ruptured and approximately 5,388 gallons of unleaded
gasoline were spilled. A majority of the gasoline flowed overland and was
released directly into Beaver Butte Creek. The spill occurred on the
reservation of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of
Initial emergency response actions included stabilizing the truck and trailer,
removing the gasoline that remained in the tanks, excavating trenches between
the spill location and Beaver Butte Creek to inhibit the overland flow of
gasoline to the creek, removing contaminated soil, and pumping and filtering
groundwater. The spill resulted in direct impacts to Chinook salmon, steelhead,
and other natural resources. Riparian vegetation was also impacted.
Judicial action arising from the spill was brought by the United States Department of Justice and settled in 2006. The trustees worked together to develop a Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, which was finalized in 2009. The proposed suite of restoration actions is intended to restore several miles of stream habitat in Beaver, Quartz, and Coyote Creeks. The projects in the plan include riparian plantings, livestock exclusion fencing, road and culvert removal, and in-stream habitat restoration.
Implementation of the Restoration Plan began in 2011 with construction of the Lower Quartz Creek Riparian Fencing Project. In 2012 two in-stream restoration projects were constructed on the main stem of Beaver Creek and two more fencing projects were built in the Quartz Creek watershed. Project implementation and monitoring will continue for the next several years.