Energy/North Pass, LA
Date of incident: September 22, 2002.
Location: Mississippi River Delta, Plaquemines Parish,
Case status: Settlement was reached on May 3, 2006. Restoration
is complete and the project will be monitored through 2011 to determine
Overview: On September 22, 2002, an estimated 800 barrels
(33,600 gallons) of oil was discharged into a containment area when an
aboveground storage tank leaked while being filled. Approximately 300 barrels
(12,600 gallons) escaped the containment area and flowed into the surrounding
water and marsh area. Based on observations and information collected
immediately following the incident, the Trustees concluded that birds, fish,
and other fauna, as well as their habitat, may have been exposed to crude oil.
Therefore, the state and federal natural resource trustees initiated a natural
resource damage assessment (NRDA) to determine the extent and duration of
injuries to the environment.
Marsh flora and fauna, water column and benthic organisms, and habitats were
evaluated for potential injury. The Trustees and Responsible Party (RP)
determined that approximately 120 acres of marsh habitat, shoreline, and the
water column had been injured. However, surveys conducted shortly after the
incident indicated that injuries to birds, fish, and other water column
organisms were minimal and would be compensated by the restoration of marsh
habitat for the marsh injuries.
The Trustees considered nine restoration alternatives potentially capable of
providing compensatory restoration for the injuries resulting from the oil
spill. Following a public comment period, the Trustees selected a crevasse
splay marsh for implementation. This project, which was implemented in August
2006, entailed cutting a channel in the right descending bank of Octave Pass to
foster the natural development of freshwater marsh. The project is expected to
naturally create more than 10 acres of marsh in Plaquemines Parish, LA.