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Thread subject: Say a prayer/keep your fingers crossed for Richmond's Ospreys!
Name Date Message
JoJo 05/09/05 10:42 pm I am a volunteer with our local wildlife rehab group, and today I was called upon to rescue a goose that was covered in oil as a result of a serious oil spill in the James River, near the port of Richmond. This spill could not have happened in a worse place...it is a sanctuary area for eagles and ospreys, and other wildlife who reside there. I did manage to capture the goose, and hopefully, she will survive. But tonight I learned that the spill is much worse than I was told today when I was at the site. And to make matters worse, there is at a minimum, 6 osprey nests and two eagle nests, all occupied, at the spill site. Here is a link to the story from our local NBC affiliate: http://nbc12.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WWBT%2FMGArticle%2FWBT_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031782607335. When I arrived at the spill site, a kind and wonderful environmental scientist met me, and then took me by boat to the small island where the goose was spotted earlier in the day. She was there; tired, messy and stressed. I actually had a “wild goose chase” today, and it was successful thank goodness. The goose is now in the hands of a federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator, and hopefully, her prognosis will be better tomorrow than it was today. While on the water, I saw our beautiful ospreys, and I am praying that they will not be attracted to what looks to be a potentially large fish kill. Does anyone know if Osprey or other birds are attracted to dead fish? This is something I know *nothing* about. Because the Coast Guard and our Hazmat teams were able to get to the site quickly, they may have reduced the potential of a large number of water fowl and marine animal injuries or deaths as they were able to contain the spill quickly. However, the containment area is quite large. I am unable to get to sleep tonight, as this was an upsetting situation to say the least. I am just waiting for the phone to ring againâ€Â¦And yes, it looks a lot like what we’ve seen in movies and on the news. It’s smelly (I coughed for hours and hours), it’s ugly, and worst of all, the accident could have been avoided. Anyhoo, I just wanted to ask for your “mental energies” in helping to keep our precious wildlife out of harm’s way.
cathy 05/10/05 02:29 am Sorry to hear about this. Now that we can watch wildlife so closely, we can understand their struggles to survive so much more. The wildlife thriving makes me feel that all is well in my world. I hope the wildlife will find other places to hunt. It will be interesting to watch and I hope you keep the message board posted on what you learn.
Celeste 05/10/05 05:01 am I hate to hear when any wildlife is suffering because of "our" world. To survive day to day is hard enough without the "extras".

As far as osprey and fish.....everything I have ever read has said that osprey catch live fish, and not carrion.

Please let us know the progress of this situation.
Shelley 05/10/05 06:09 am All my vibes and good wishes going out your way, JoJo. Please keep us updated!
JoJo 05/10/05 09:04 am Thank you for your good thoughts. Here is today's local newspaper's update. Interesting, that even though it was our Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries reports that there was little wildlife affected, they were the folks who contacted us to rescue the goose! I guess one little goose is not newsworthy!

*******

2,000 GALLONS SPILL INTO JAMES
BARGE RAN AGROUND; NO SIGNIFICANT FALLOUT FROM LEAK IS REPORTED

BY JULIAN WALKER
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
May 10, 2005


The U.S. Coast Guard yesterday estimated that 2,000 gallons of diesel had spilled into the James River since Sunday morning, when a barge carrying the fuel went aground in eastern Henrico County and began leaking.

No significant signs of pollution or fallout from the fuel leak had been observed on the James, officials with two state agencies said yesterday.

Also by yesterday, the Coast Guard had closed a section of the river near Osborne Boat Landing to commercial and recreational traffic as the cleanup and investigation into how the barge went aground continued.

The prohibition "will remain in effect until the barge is out of the way," said Jerry Crooks, chief of investigations for the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Hampton Roads. Though a cleanup effort is ongoing, a final leakage figure may not be known for some time. "It's going to be weeks before we have an accurate number," Crooks said.

Barge VB 53 ran aground about 11:20 a.m. Sunday, its underbelly pierced by two large boulders lurking just beneath the water surface during low tide. The vessel is owned by Vane Line Bunkering, a tug boat and barge subsidiary of The Vane Brothers Co. that operates out of Norfolk, Baltimore and Philadelphia, Vane Line marketing manager Don Glenn said. The barge was loaded with 1.76 million gallons of fuel at the Richmond port around 10 a.m. Sunday and was bound for New York. Yesterday, a second Vane Brothers barge was alongside the VB 53 and was transferring the remaining fuel to that vessel, Glenn said.

Barges are pushed by tug boats and move about 6 mph, Glenn said. He would not comment on how the VB 53 went aground pending the Coast Guard investigation.

The Coast Guard is looking for witnesses who operated pleasure boats in that area of the James on Sunday morning and specifically a "16- to 17-foot white fiberglass runabout with an open bow and walk through windshield, bearing Virginia state numbers." That boat had red trim on the interior, was powered by an outboard motor and was occupied by two men, both believed to be older than 60 with white or gray hair, a Coast Guard news release read.

Meanwhile, officials with the state Department of Environmental Quality and the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said they had not seen visible signs of environmental harm as a result of the spill. "We're continuing to monitor the situation, but at this point we don't have any documented fish kills or data on any wildlife damage," Gary Martel, director of fisheries for the state Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, said.

Martel said the section of the river where the spill occurred is sensitive because it is home to eagles, ospreys and other birds. It is also spawning season in that area for fish, such as the striped bass, that swim in from the Chesapeake Bay to lay eggs, he added.

Though officials say the environmental impact appears small in this instance, Bill Street, executive director of the nonprofit James River Association, said it should be a priority to "restore the river back to health so when human events harm the river they are not so devastating."
Marie 05/10/05 06:32 pm Oh this is awful Jo Jo. I hate reading about these situations. One thing I have learnt that what the reporters print is often not the true situation. It can be many times worse of even less of a situation. I have been quioted a number of times in the news papers and it is hardly ever what I have said. Must be my funny accent!. They just never get it right!.
I do hope that the ospreys and eagles can find another source for food as this oiled environment presents a real threat to them and their little ones. Ospreys eat live fish but certainly eagles eat carrion as well as live fish if they find them. Keeping my fingers crossed that they can clean it up in haste before it really creates a mess.
JoJo 05/10/05 08:42 pm Tonight's news said that the barge has now been sealed and moved up to the Port of Richmond, so at least there is no additional oil spilling. I did not get one call today for rescue, so this is GOOD news. And the rescued goose has had several baths, and her rehabber reports that she is now alert, able to see, and is relaxing a bit. A few more days and we will know if she is OK. If so, I will pick her up one more time, and release her here at my home, which is on the upper James River, where she can join with about 100 other "buddies". I just hope she wasn't a mom...that worries me so. But I don't know how to tell a male from a female because they all look alike to me. Anyone know how to identify them? I could consult one of my bird books, but I much prefer to hear from the "brain trust"!
Cecilia 05/10/05 09:15 pm How wonderful that you are trained to do wildlife rescue and rehab! I'm so glad to hear that the situation seems to be under control..it sounds like they were lucky this time.

I looked in Sibleys and Petersens about the differences between male and female Canadian Geese and all I could find is that the male is sometimes bigger. Not much help unless you have one of each side by side :-(

Keep up the good work and let us know how things turn out.

Copyright © 2006 DPOF

Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006