An oil spill at the Drift River Terminal would not only impact the bald eagles in our area, but also an abundance of other wildlife.
Numerous migratory pathways intersect here, bringing in hundreds of thousands of birds each spring. The area is an important habitat for migratory and nesting birds. The islands in the area provide the habitat for nesting colonies of horned and tufted puffins, mures, kittiwakes, and cormorants. The ReDoubt Bay Critical Habitat Area is the largest nesting area for the Tule white-fronted goose. At least three varieties of Canadian geese, trumpeter swans, and sandhill cranes frequent the area. Wide arrays of ducks feed and nest in the shoreline and riparian marshes. The ducks include pintails, mallards, green-winged teals, canvasbacks, redheads, widgeons, and common eiders. Shorebirds include godwits, dunlins, phalaropes, sandpipers, plovers, and whimbrels. The largest population of migratory seabirds in the world arrives each spring.
Migratory fish, most notably the Pacific salmon, inhabit the ocean and rivers, and their eggs hatch in the early spring. Homer is noted as “The Halibut Capital of the World,” and the halibut are a local staple along with salmon, rockfish, cod, and other fish. The seas in the area are also feeding grounds for beluga whales, killer whales, harbor seals, stellar sea lions, sea otters, harbor porpoise, dall’s porpoise, and other marine mammals.
The shores of Clam Gulch, directly across the inlet from the Drift River facility, are home to the largest razor clam fishery in Alaska.
Brown bear, black bear, and other land mammal populations would also be affected by an oil spill.
Drawing down the oil at the Drift River Terminal at this time should be a critical concern for everyone, no matter where they live. There is only one ocean, and everything is connected on this planet.
(click on photos to enlarge)