Strait of Juan de Fuca GRP Open for Public Comment

I’m Wendy Buffett, an oil spill preparedness planner with Ecology, and I’m thrilled to announce that the Strait of Juan de Fuca (STR) Geographic Response Plan (GRP) is now open for public comment!

What Is a GRP and How Does It Help the Strait?

GRPs aim to protect the sensitive natural, cultural, and economic resources in a specified geographic area. The geographic areas in Washington State with GRPs have associated risks from oil spills; industry may transport, store, refine, or transfer oil in these regions. The Strait of Juan de Fuca GRP had its last full update in March 2003.

The Strait of Juan de Fuca is 80 miles long and separates the Canada from Washington State. It is the principal waterway by which overseas and regional commerce moves to and from the Washington State ports of Port Angeles, Seattle, Tacoma; the Canadian ports of Victoria and Vancouver; and the oil refineries and terminals in Anacortes, Bellingham, Seattle, and Tacoma.

The area is renowned for its stunning beauty, providing a wealth of recreational opportunities for hiking, fishing, sailing, camping, and surfing. Three million visitors a year admire its vistas on their way to Olympic National Park.

The Dungeness River estuary with Olympic Mountains in the distance.

A Group Effort

A comprehensive update of the entire plan is now available for public comment through June 15, 2024, with an expected publish date of July 1, 2024. This long-awaited update is possible thanks to the patience and diligent efforts of many contributors who live and work in the planning area, including:

  • Makah Nation
  • Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
  • Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
  • Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Port of Port Angeles
  • Marathon Oil Port Angeles Terminal
  • Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC)
  • Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Washington Department of Natural Resources
  • Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
  • Clallam County Marine Resources Committee

This update includes the removal of ten strategies due to physical changes and new information, 42 updated strategies, and 25 new strategies created to protect resources in Neah Bay, Sequim Bay, Discovery Bay, and Protection Island. Each site was visited, many of them twice, and designed with the input of one or more of the above contributors.

Three people in a boat look in the distance at a green island. The bright orange jackets of two say US Fish and Wildlife Service.
A group visit to Protection Island on Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s response boat, including US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecology, and MSRC.

The update also includes seven new Notification Strategies so that first responders can immediately notify fish hatcheries, aquariums, and other water intakes about a spill in the area.

Help Us Improve the Plan

Working on this plan has allowed me to visit some of the most spectacularly beautiful spots in the world, and connect with the passionate, knowledgeable people who strive every day to protect the rich history and resources of the Strait. The maintenance of these geographic response plans is vital to our state’s preparedness in the event of an oil spill. Please help us by following the links below to review the draft and provide comments. You may also submit comments by mail or email. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns at wendy.buffett@ecy.wa.gov or 360-791-4325.

Comment online:

Use our online comment form https://sppr.ecology.commentinput.com/?id=4FSB8sj6m

Comment by mail:

Wendy Buffett
Department of Ecology, Spills Program
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600

GRP Quarterly Newsletter – April 2024

What are Geographic Response Plans?

Oil spills pose a risk to sensitive environmental, cultural, and economic resources. One important tool in our planning toolbox is the Geographic Response Plan (GRP). GRPs contain pre-identified strategies for specific areas of the state at risk from oil spills. These are pre-approved plans that guide early response actions during oil spills. A list of all Washington State GRPs, including those open for comprehensive updates, can be found online at OilSpills101.wa.gov.

GRP Updates:  Comprehensive vs. Interim

GRPs are periodically updated to ensure the information is relevant and up-to-date. These comprehensive updates require a lot of work and often take a year or two to complete. Work is coordinated with other state and federal agencies, tribes, industry partners, oil spill response professionals, and communities.

GRPs Open for Comprehensive Updates

GRPs currently open for comprehensive updates are listed below, along with the contact information if you have questions or want to participate. Included are any comprehensive GRP updates published in 2024.

Interim GRP Updates during Winter 2024

Because a lot can change in a GRP planning area between comprehensive updates, Ecology is committed to conducting interim GRP updates when necessary. Examples of interim updates include improvements to response strategies resulting from lessons learned during oil spill drills or actual spills, updated contact information, changes to driving directions, and other response-enhancing edits. Ecology publishes interim updates to GRPs on a quarterly basis. Interim updates completed this quarter include the following:

Everyone has a Role in Improving the State’s GRPs

Oil industry regularly exercises oil spill contingency plans to ensure their readiness to respond to an oil spill. These exercises often involve the deployment of GRP strategies. Each deployment is an opportunity to validate a response strategy’s effectiveness, and to make improvements if it is necessary.

GRPs also rely on feedback from professional oil spill responders, natural resource agencies, tribes, and the public. This valuable feedback is reflected in either a comprehensive update or the interim update process.

If you have information or ideas that can make GRP’s even more effective, Ecology wants to know! Please email GRP feedback to GRPs@ecy.wa.gov.  If you are visiting a response strategy site, you can use our new GRP Strategy Assessment Form to help document your assessment. We thank you in advance for helping the Northwest Area Committee maintain a high level of readiness to respond to oil spills.

Lake Washington GRP – Public Comment Opportunity!

What’s going on?

My name is Sabrina Floudaras, I’m an oil spill preparedness planner with the Washington Department of Ecology, and I’m so excited to announce the Lake Washington (LKWA) Geographic Response Plan is now open for public comment!

Geographic Response Plans (GRPs) aim to protect sensitive natural, cultural, and economic resources at risk from an oil spill in a specified geographic area. A key part of this process is gathering input from the people who work, live, and play in this community. I hope to hear from you during this public comment period (July 24th–August 25th, 2023).

I was privileged to work on the first Lake Washington GRP back in 2014. A lot has changed since in the area since then, which is why we opened the GRP for a full update in June 2020. As the world began to emerge from the pandemic, coordination with the community, tribes, and other local, state, and federal partners became my central focus to help expedite needed fieldwork and narrative updates completed, and it worked! The draft plan, now available for public comment, is something we can all be proud of.

Familiarize yourself!

This area densely populated also has abundant natural areas, public spaces, and culturally rich and diverse communities. On the shores of the lake sit Boeing manufacturing, the University of Washington campus with Botanical Gardens and an Arboretum, and the NOAA HQ Northwest Fisheries Science Center Montlake Laboratory. Adjacent to Warren Magnuson Park is NOAA’s Western Regional Center, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, and many parks supporting natural and economic resources. Importantly floating bridges, I-90 east and west bridges and 520 run across Lake Washington, and I-405 along the east side of the Lake bypasses I-5 through Seattle, crosses waterways that flow westward from eastern uplands.

Risks from oil spills in this area come from multiple sources. Aside from the bridges and recreational boating, there are two smaller oil holding facilities on the lake that store marine fuel, the Olympic Pipeline that carries refined petroleum product crosses the Sammamish River to the north, natural gas pipelines, and a large shore-side terminal with a worst case spill potential of over 2,000,000 gallons.

What has changed?

Overall I updated 20 GRP response strategies with contractor suggested changes, revised most response strategy Implementation Details to include more succinct information in support of a rapid, aggressive, and well-coordinated response, updated driving directions, photos, verified contacts, and coordinated with local officials to improve information on all the Boat Launches and Staging Areas. Additional improvements were made thanks to important feedback from the City of Seattle, Seattle PUD, Seattle Parks & Rec Dept, King County, City of Kirkland, Kirkland Parks, City of Bellevue, homeowners, and more.

Review the draft GRP:  https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/ezshare/sppr/Preparedness/LKWA-Public/LKWACoverPage.pdf

Comment online:

Use our online comment form: https://sppr.ecology.commentinput.com/?id=TgZfF9Hpx2

Comment by mail:

Sabrina Floudaras
Department of Ecology, Spills Program
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600

 

GRP Quarterly Newsletter – April, 2023

What are Geographic Response Plans?

Oil spills pose a risk to sensitive environmental, cultural, and economic resources. One important tool in our planning toolbox is the Geographic Response Plan (GRP). GRPs contain pre-identified strategies for specific areas of the state at risk from oil spills. These are pre-approved plans that guide early response actions during oil spills. A list of all Washington State GRPs, including those open for comprehensive updates, can be found online at OilSpills101.wa.gov.

GRP Updates:  Comprehensive vs. Interim

GRPs are periodically updated to ensure the information is relevant and up-to-date. These comprehensive updates require a lot of work and often take a year or two to complete. Work is coordinated with other state and federal agencies, tribes, industry partners, oil spill response professionals, and communities.

GRPs currently open for comprehensive updates are listed below, along with the contact information if you have questions or want to participate.

Interim GRP updates during Winter, 2023

Because a lot can change in a GRP planning area between comprehensive updates, Ecology is committed to conducting interim GRP updates when necessary. Examples of interim updates include improvements to response strategies resulting from lessons learned during drills or real spills, updated contact information, changes to driving directions after roadwork, and other response-enhancing edits. Ecology publishes interim updates to GRPs on a quarterly basis. Interim updates completed this quarter include the following:

Everyone has a Role in Improving the State’s GRPs

The oil industry regularly exercises oil spill contingency plans to ensure their readiness to respond to an oil spill. These exercises often involve the deployment of GRP strategies. Each deployment is an opportunity to validate a response strategy’s effectiveness and to make improvements if it is necessary.

GRPs also rely on feedback from professional oil spill responders, natural resource agencies, tribes, and the public. This valuable feedback is often reflected in a comprehensive update, or through the interim update process.

If you have information or ideas that can make GRP’s even more effective, Ecology wants to know! Please email GRP feedback to GRPs@ecy.wa.gov.  If you are visiting a response strategy site, you can use our new GRP Strategy Assessment Form to help document your assessment. We thank you in advance for helping the Northwest Area Contingency Plan maintain a high level of readiness to respond to oil spills.

 

 

GRP Quarterly Newsletter – October, 2022

What are Geographic Response Plans?

Oil spills pose a risk to sensitive environmental, cultural, and economic resources. One important tool in our planning toolbox is the Geographic Response Plan (GRP). GRPs contain pre-identified strategies for specific areas of the state at risk from oil spills. These are pre-approved plans that guide early response actions during oil spills. A list of all Washington State GRPs, including those open for comprehensive updates can be found online at OilSpills101.wa.gov.

GRP Updates:  Comprehensive vs. Interim

GRPs are periodically updated to ensure the information is relevant and up-to-date. These comprehensive updates require a lot of work and often take a year or two to complete. Work is coordinated with other state and federal agencies, tribes, industry partners, oil spill response professionals, and communities. GRPs currently open for comprehensive updates are listed below, along with the contact information if you have questions or want to participate.

Because a lot can change in a GRP planning area between comprehensive updates, Ecology is committed to conducting interim GRP updates when necessary. Examples of interim updates include improvements to response strategies resulting from lessons learned during drills or real spills, updated contact information, changes to driving directions after roadwork, and other response-enhancing edits. Ecology publishes interim updates to GRPs on a quarterly basis.

Interim GRP Updates for Spring 2022

Grays Harbor GRP: LKAB-0.0-N & WEST 0.0-N & CHER-0.15-N.

Central Puget Sound GRP: CPS-150; CPS-40; GRD-0.6.

Middle Columbia River – McNary Pool GRP: M-328.0L; M-326.5L.

Everyone has a Role in Improving the State’s GRPs

The oil industry regularly exercises oil spill contingency plans to ensure their readiness to respond to an oil spill. These exercises often involve the deployment of GRP strategies. Each deployment is an opportunity to validate a response strategy’s effectiveness, and to make improvements if it is necessary.

GRPs also rely on feedback from professional oil spill responders, natural resource agencies, tribes, and the public. This valuable feedback is often reflected in a comprehensive update, or through the interim update process.

If you have information or ideas that can make GRP’s even more effective, Ecology wants to know! Please email GRP feedback to GRPs@ecy.wa.gov.  If you are visiting a response strategy site, you can use our new GRP Strategy Assessment Form to help document your assessment. We thank you in advance for helping the Northwest Regional Contingency Plan and the Area Plans maintain a high level of readiness to respond to oil spills.

 

Updates to Washington’s GRPs

What are Geographic Response Plans?

Oil spills pose a risk to sensitive environmental, cultural, and economic resources. One important tool in our planning toolbox is the Geographic Response Plan (GRP). GRPs contain pre-identified strategies for specific areas of the state at risk from oil spills. These are pre-approved plans that guide early response actions during oil spills. A list of all Washington State GRPs, including those open for comprehensive updates can be found online at OilSpills101.wa.gov.

GRP Updates:  Comprehensive vs. Interim

GRPs are periodically updated to ensure the information is relevant and up-to-date. These comprehensive updates require a lot of work and often take a year or two to complete. Work is coordinated with other state and federal agencies, tribes, industry partners, oil spill response professionals, and communities. GRPs currently open for comprehensive updates are listed below, along with the contact information if you have questions or want to participate.

Because a lot can change in a GRP planning area between comprehensive updates, Ecology is committed to conducting interim GRP updates when necessary. Examples of interim updates include improvements to response strategies resulting from lessons learned during drills or real spills, updated contact information, changes to driving directions after roadwork, and other response-enhancing edits. Ecology publishes interim updates to GRPs on a quarterly basis.

Interim GRP Updates for Spring 2022

Grays Harbor GRP: new information provided by NRCES from a site visit resulted in updates to CHRC-0.1 (site access, site safety, and land owner contact information) and NSKC-0.2 (site access and safety information).

Central Puget Sound GRP: during a recent spill in Elliott Bay, notification strategy CPS-31-N was utilized. New contact information for this strategy has been added.

North Puget Sound GRP: We updated NPS-75, NPS-74, and NPS-73 to remove references to the old refinery name; and updated contact and access information for NPS-07.

Moses Lake/Crab Creek GRP: after lessons learned from a GRP deployment exercise, we moved the location of MOLK-39.3 slightly east so that it is further away from a dam gate and allows for better access, monitoring, and boom maintenance.

Strait of Juan de Fuca GRP: A lot of good work and collaboration with tribes and other stakeholders has been done on this GRP. Equipment, boom, and/or location information has been updated for the following strategies while the rest of the plan is undergoing a comprehensive update: STR-01, STR-02, STR-03, STR-04, STR-05, STR-06, STR-07, and STR-11.

Everyone has a Role in Improving the State’s GRPs

The oil industry regularly exercises oil spill contingency plans to ensure their readiness to respond to an oil spill. These exercises often involve the deployment of GRP strategies. Each deployment is an opportunity to validate a response strategy’s effectiveness, and to make improvements if it is necessary.

GRPs also rely on feedback from professional oil spill responders, natural resource agencies, tribes, and the public. This valuable feedback is often reflected in a comprehensive update, or through the interim update process.

If you have information or ideas that can make GRP’s even more effective, Ecology wants to know! Please email GRP feedback to GRPs@ecy.wa.gov.  If you are visiting a response strategy site, you can use our new GRP Strategy Assessment Form to help document your assessment. We thank you in advance for helping the Northwest Regional Contingency Plan and the Area Plans maintain a high level of readiness to respond to oil spills.

 

GRP Progress Report: January 2022

We are writing to update you on the status of the 11 Geographic Response Plans (GRPs) currently open for updates in Washington. GRPs are planning documents for specific areas of the state at risk from oil spills. They contain contact information, site descriptions, resources at risk, and other response considerations. Each GRP includes pre-designed response strategies that guide early actions during an oil spill. These strategies are designed to minimize impacts to sensitive environmental, cultural, and economic resources. GRPs are part of the Northwest Area Contingency Plan and are co-managed by the EPA, the USCG, and the state.

In addition to the GRP updates described below, Ecology has spent the last year updating all GRPs that may be at risk from spills of non-floating oils (NFOs). This includes the addition of a Non-floating Oil Response Options and Considerations section. More information on the NFO update to GRPs can be found at our NFO Blog here: https://www.oilspills101.wa.gov/blog/

Below you will find a brief status update for the 11 open GRPs. For more information on a specific GRP, please contact the Preparedness Planner noted at the end of each overview. For general information on GRPs, please visit https://www.oilspills101.wa.gov/northwest-area-contingency-plan/geographic-response-plans-grps/

GRPs Open for Update

WRIA 7 (Snohomish Basin)

After meeting with tribes, trustee agencies, oil spill response contractors, and other stakeholders, fieldwork and data entry are complete. Ecology completed an internal review of proposed changes in December 2021. Additional consultation with stakeholders will occur in early 2022. Significant updates to this GRP include changing the name to the Snohomish Basin GRP (a more common term used to describe the planning area), an expansion of the planning area to include the Snoqualmie River, and the creation of new strategies to protect the recent restoration work in the Snohomish Estuary. Look for this GRP to be up for public comment period in spring 2022. It is our goal to finalize these updates and publish the new plan in the summer 2022. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Nora Haider at nora.haider@ecy.wa.gov.

South Puget Sound

Work on the South Puget Sound GRP continues. Initial land-based fieldwork has been conducted. Additional fieldwork and stakeholder consultation are needed. Keep an eye out for future updates in 2022. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Kaitlin Lebon at Kaitlin.lebon@ecy.wa.gov.

Lake Chelan

The Lake Chelan GRP opened for a full review in the summer of 2021. Initial fieldwork was conducted in July 2021, with additional fieldwork planned for spring and late summer 2022. A major goal of this update will be to assess strategies for both high and low water scenarios in Lake Chelan. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Kaitlin Lebon at Kaitlin.lebon@ecy.wa.gov.

Lake Washington

Planning for fieldwork is underway. Coordination with federal, tribal, state, and local partners continues.  For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Sabrina Floudaras at Sabrina.Floudaras@ecy.wa.gov.

Lower Columbia River

This GRP update began in 2020 with a meeting between Washington State ECY, Oregon DEQ and USCG Sector Columbia River. A kick-off message was sent to stakeholders shortly after this initial meeting. We began fieldwork in the Lower Columbia River GRP area in late 2020; this work is ongoing. Fieldwork will continue on the Washington side of the river into 2022. Any interested parties can contact Darcy Bird at darcy.bird@ecy.wa.gov for more information or to coordinate collaboration on this important project.

San Juan Islands

This GRP was created when the formerly combined San Juan Islands/North Puget Sound GRP was divided into two separate plans. The final version of the updated North Puget Sound plan was published separately in June 2021. A draft of the San Juan Islands GRP was posted for a public comment period in early 2021, and valuable feedback created an opportunity to make the plan even better. We are currently working on incorporating the feedback into the plan. The estimated publication date is summer 2022. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Max Gordon at max.gordon@ecy.wa.gov.

Clark Cowlitz Southwest Lewis

The last of the fieldwork was completed in June 2021. Ecology is now conducting an internal review of the proposed changes to the plan. Following our internal review of the draft update, the GRP will be posted for public comment. The estimated publication date is summer 2022. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Max Gordon at max.gordon@ecy.wa.gov.

Strait of Juan de Fuca

Fieldwork is nearly complete. We are currently working with local tribes and resource agencies to finalize fieldwork and gather additional information to update remaining strategies. A blog was posted recently with more details on this GRP update: https://www.oilspills101.wa.gov/strait-of-juan-de-fuca-grp-update-progress. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Wendy Buffett at Wendy.Buffett@ecy.wa.gov.

Snake River GRPs: Lower Monumental Pool, Little Goose Pool, Lower Granite Pool

Fieldwork for the three Snake River GRPs is complete and data entry is underway. Ecology is now conducting an internal review of the proposed changes to the plan. Following our internal panel review of the draft update, the GRP will be posted for public comment. For more information on these GRPs, please reach out to Scott Zimmerman at Scott.Zimmerman@ecy.wa.gov.

Grays Harbor

Work on this plan will begin in late 2022. There is no estimated timeline for publication of this plan at this time. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Max Gordon at max.gordon@ecy.wa.gov.

Outer Coast

Work on this plan will begin in late 2022. There is no estimated timeline for publication of this plan at this time. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Scott Zimmerman at Scott.Zimmerman@ecy.wa.gov.

 

Thank you for your continued support and collaboration

The success of a GRP requires the active engagement of the spill response community in the development, maintenance, and review of these documents. With your help, we are dedicated to ensuring the accuracy and effectiveness of our state’s GRPs – protecting the region’s environmental, cultural, and economic resources in the event of a large oil spill.

We greatly appreciate all of our partners – tribes, trustees, the regulated community, oil spill response organizations, and citizens of the state – who help make this work happen.

North Puget Sound GRP – Response to Public Comments

The Washington Department of Ecology has updated the North Puget Sound (NCPS) Geographic Response Plan (GRP). An important part of the update process was hearing from the people that live, work, and play in the GRP area. To facilitate this, we opened the plan to public comment from December 21st 2020 to February 15th, 2021.

Linked below is an overview of comments received and Ecology’s response. Ecology appreciates everyone who took the time to provide comments on this GRP. GRPs are improved by this community’s input and we appreciate your ongoing efforts in protecting Washington’s environment.

Feel free to reach out to  darcy.bird@ecy.wa.gov or 360-480-2084 with any questions.

Follow this link to review the Response to Comments document: (Download)

 

 

 

North Puget Sound GRP – Closed for Comments!

Howdy, OilSpills101 Blog Reader!

Darcy Bird surveying GRPs in Samish Bay aboard a WDFW airboat. Photo Credit: Brian MacDonald, WDFW

It is Darcy Bird again! I am excited to announce another plan I updated, the North Puget Sound (NPS) Geographic Response Plan (GRP), is now open for public comment!

GRPs aim to protect the sensitive natural, cultural, and economic resources in a specified geographic area. The geographic areas in Washington State with GRPs have associated risks from oil spills; industry may transport, store, refine, or transfer oil in these regions. The NPS GRP, encompassing the marine waters between the San Juan Islands to the east, mainland Washington to the west, Fidalgo Island to the south and the Canadian Border to the north, has unique risks, logistical concerns, and sensitive resources that I researched, conducted fieldwork on, and updated the strategies for during the plan update. A key part of this process is gathering input from the people who work, live, and play in this community. I hope to hear from you during this public comment period (December 21– February 15, 2021)!

Ecology last updated the North Puget Sound GRP in 2011 and much had changed in the region since then. For instance, research provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife determined that the location of an oil collection strategy on Samish Island was critical waterfowl habitat. We revised this strategy to exclude oil from beach habitat, rather than collect oil on the beach, an important change to protecting sensitive resources in Washington State. Our partners with the Lummi Indian Nation’s Oil Spill Response Team also provided important updates to GRPs on the Lummi Reservation. Through meticulous review of strategies, regular drilling of those strategies, and extensive fieldwork, the Lummi Nation Oil Spill Response Team have improved the many GRPs on the Lummi Reservation. Additionally, workshop attendees identified critical resources at risk at the unique and sensitive Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Scientists from the reserve identified research stations previously absent from the plan, critical habitat to prioritize and protect, and access points to strategies not easily navigate to by boat. These updates improved the response strategies in Padilla Bay enormously. A plan is only as good as the maintenance of that plan, which is why Ecology tries to regularly update GRPs.

Eelgrass beds in Samish Bay. Photo Credit: Darcy Bird

I grew up in Anacortes, WA, within this planning area, and many of the sites I visited in the course of my fieldwork were beaches and boat launches I had visited regularly as a child, teen, and places I regularly visit as an adult. As a teen, I participated in eelgrass replanting efforts in the region and learned about Marine Biology on the docks of Cap Sante Marina. Updating this GRP allowed me to view an area I had grown up in through a different lens and to help protect resources I love dearly. The maintenance of these geographic response plans are vital to our state’s preparedness in the event of an oil spill. Please follow the links below to review the draft of the updated GRP or provide comments. You may also submit comments by mail or email. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns at darcy.bird@ecy.wa.gov or 360-480-2084.

Review the draft GRP: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/ezshare/sppr/Preparedness/NPS-GRP/NPS_PublicReviewCoverPage.pdf

Comment online:

Use our online comment form http://sppr.ecology.commentinput.com/?id=NVpi7

Comment by mail:

Darcy Bird
Department of Ecology, Spills Program
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600

Bayview State Park, looking north toward Samish Island. Bayview State Park lies in Padilla Bay. A workshop held during the update process identified resources at risk in Padilla Bay, accessibility to shallow water sites, and revised current strategies to be more effective during a spill scenario. Photo Credit: Darcy Bird
Mount Baker over the water in the early morning. Photo Credit: Darcy Bird

 

Willapa Bay GRP Response to Public Comments

The Washington Department of Ecology is updating the Willapa Bay (WB) Geographic Response Plan (GRP). An important part of the update process was hearing from the people that live, work, and play in the GRP area. To facilitate this, we opened the plan to public comment from September 24th  to October 24th, 2020.
Below, you will find an overview of comments received and Ecology’s response. Ecology appreciates everyone who took the time to provide comments on this GRP. GRPs are improved by this community’s input and we appreciate your ongoing efforts in protecting Washington’s environment. Feel free to reach out to  Sabrina.Floudaras@ecy.wa.gov or 360-485-5711 with any questions.

Willapa Bay GRP Responsiveness Summary to Comments

Ecology post plans for public review for 30 days. After the 30 day public review period ends, Ecology addresses all comments received. The following is a responsiveness summary to your comments submitted to Ecology.
GRP Section Public Comment Ecology Response
General Change where applicable the Refuge Headquarters (HQ) address to 7112 67th Place, Long Beach, Washington 98631 where it is used in the GRP for contacting Refuge staff. We appreciate being made aware of the change in address for the NWR headquarters. All places in the plan where contact information associated with the NWR boat ramp/parking area building, now references the new headquarters facility located at 7112 67th Place, Long Beach, Washington 98631. We also revised the phone number for contacting staff to (360) 642-3860
General Change where applicable the old HQ name to Cutthroat Creek and change where the GRP references this location. Thank you for sharing updated NWR headquarters facilities information with us. “Headquarters” has been removed from the Refuge title associated with the location at the south end of Long Island, any directions to the refuge boat ramp no longer includes the term “headquarters” in the name.
General Change the zip code on all references to the 3888 US 101 from 98638 to 98624 Thank you for providing the correct zip code for the location.
General The Willapa NWR Headquarters is moving to our Riekkola Unit at the end of 67th Place off of Sandridge Road.  The boat ramp at 3888 US 101 should remain as the staging area for the sites identified in the document.  Willapa NWR will have a new phone number, physical and mailing address. Thank you for the updated WNWR facilities information. The NWR headquarters move to the new address at 7116 67th Place, Long Beach, Washington 98631 and the new phone number 360-642-3860 is revised in all locations in the plan where it was previously located at 3888 US 101, boat ramp and staging area directions located at 3888 US 101 remain unchanged.
General Make consistent directions to the same location e.g. Willapa boat ramp (3888 SR 101 98624); referencing information regarding the Refuge (WNWR, Refuge, etc.). Thank you for recognizing the need for consistent directions. All directions to staging areas and boat launches have been revised to begin at the same starting location, creating a consistent look and functionality throughout the driving directions maps.
Resources at Risk Should this section reference federal cultural resources at risk and not just WDAHP and THPOs? Federal contact? Contact information for the federal U.S. FWS to acquire cultural resources information during spill event has been included in the Cultural Resources Contacts table.
Economic Resources at Risk The only areas listed for the Willapa NWR is C2 on Page 4 – National Seashore Recreation Areas for current HQ and Ocean Park. State Parks has Parks and Beaches.  Is this accurate or should it reflect Willapa NWR beaches too? WNWR beaches have been added into the Economic Resources at Risk table associated with C1 – Parks & Beaches on P. 3 and P. 4. Thank you for identifying these additional economic resources at risk.
Economic Resources at Risk P. 4 C2 National Seashore Recreation Areas:    What about the recreational shellfish harvesting that occurs on the Willapa Refuge Long Island beaches.  The beaches at Willapa NWR Leadbetter Point Unit. Recreational shellfish harvesting is included in the Economic Resources at Risk table associated with C1 – Parks & Beaches on P. 4.
Spill Contact Sheet Should double check the number listed for the U.S. FWS and U.S. DOI contacts We appreciate this comment. A check of these phone lines show they are working properly.
Response Strategies and Priorities Jeldness Road has been used multiple times as an access point to get to Refuge sites.  This is a privately owned road which is not a public access point. We appreciate for your exceptional local knowledge. The strategies that included the use of Jeldness Road for access to strategy sites that are no longer accessible were revised to deploy to by boat from 3888 US 101 Refuge boat launch/parking area, and the corresponding driving direction amended.
Response Strategies and Priorities There are three points that were named as Tide Gates which are no longer there.  The dikes and tide gates were removed.  Boats are required to access these sites.  The name of these sites has been changed to the stream name they are associated with (in comments below). Thank you. Strategies WB-39, WB-40, and WB-41 no longer include associated implementation details related to closing the tide gates and now require boat access, deployable from the NWR boat launch/parking area with corresponding driving direction amended. The names of the sites were also corrected to correspond to the stream names they are situated on.
Response Strategies and Priorities It might be clearer to have all directions to the Refuge boat launch area at 3888 State Route 101 (U.S. 101) to be the same.  The Driving Directions often start at different locations and different directions to get to the same location. Thank you for suggesting this need for consistency in the driving directions. The driving directions now start from the same location for the sites, accessible by boat from the Refuge boat launch at 3888 U.S. 101 S.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-29 P. 85 – Sunshine Point – Staging Area is at Willapa NWR Headquarters and boat launch area.  Driving directions should be to finish at 3888 US 101, 98624, on the right as all others that use the Willapa Refuge boat ramp. The name and driving directions for the boat launch and staging area for this site has been revised.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-30 P. 86-87 – Lewis Slough – Staging Area:  Change Willapa Bay NWR Headquarters and boat launch area to Willapa NWR boat launch area. The name and driving directions for the boat launch and staging area for this site has been revised.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-31 P. 88 – Kaffee Slough – Staging area: Change Willapa Bay NWR Headquarters and boat launch area to Willapa NWR boat launch area. The name and driving directions for the boat launch and staging area for this site has been revised.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-32 P. 90 – Baldwin Slough (north entrance) – Staging Area: Change Willapa Bay NWR Headquarters and boat launch area to Willapa NWR boat launch area. Revised the name of the refuge and driving directions to the boat launch for the staging are
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-33 P. 92 – Baldwin Slough (south entrance) – Staging Area: Change Willapa Bay NWR Headquarters and boat launch area to Willapa NWR boat launch area. The name and driving directions for the boat launch and staging area for this site has been revised.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-34 P. 94 – Long Island Slough – Staging Area: Change Willapa Bay NWR Headquarters and boat launch area to Willapa NWR boat launch area. The name and driving directions for the boat launch and staging area for this site has been revised.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-35 P. 96 – Lake Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Headqtrs – Implementation: Using plywood to block culvert would back up water.  If this is for long period of time (especially in the winter storms) water could overtop the road causing damage to the dike road ramp, boat ramp and dock. Staging Area:  Change Willapa Bay NWR Headquarters and boat launch area to Cutthroat Creek and boat launch area. Thank you for your input on this strategy. The reference to use plywood in the implementation of the strategy and revision the booming strategy and the name of the refuge and driving directions to the boat launch and staging area have been made.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-37 P. 100-101 – Bear River (main channel) Staging Area: Change Willapa Bay NWR Headquarters and boat launch area to Willapa NWR boat launch area.                  Driving Directions 3. Delete Bay from Willapa Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The name and driving directions for the boat launch and staging area for this site has been revised.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-38 P. 102-103 – Bear River (west channel) Staging Area: Change Willapa Bay to just Willapa. Driving Directions:  #5 Change Willapa Bay to just Willapa. The name and driving directions for the boat launch and staging area for this site has been revised.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-39 P. 104-105 – Willapa Bay NWR Tide Gate #1 – Title:  Change the title to Willapa NWR Lewis Creek Slough; (Refuge doesn’t have a tide gate at this location); Implementation:  Willapa NWR no longer has a tide gate at this location.  Change WB NWR to W NWR.  Staging Area: Should be changed to Willapa NWR boat ramp parking lot.  Field Notes:  Jeldness Road is a privately owned road, Refuge had removed dike so there is no access to where the tide gate was.  Driving Directions:  Item 1-3. Since access to this site is by boat only direction should be to Willapa NWR boat ramp; Jeldness Road is privately owned and doesn’t provide access to this site. The use of “Bay” from Refuge title has been removed along with language for the tide gate that no longer exists and associated implementation details related to closing the tide gate. Removed the use of Jeldness Road for access to strategy site, and revised the strategy as boat access only and deployable from the Refuge boat launch/parking area. Corresponding driving directions to the referenced change was also added.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-40 P. 106-107 – Willapa Bay NWR Tide Gate #2 – Title: Change the title to Willapa NWR? (Outside Channel?) Slough; Refuge doesn’t have a tide gate at this location; Implementation:  Willapa NWR no longer has a tide gate at this location.  The phone number listed in this section should be changed to our new office number.  Who at the refuge should this be? Change WB NWR to WNWR.  Staging Area: Delete Bay and HQ from Willapa Bay NWR HQ.  Staging area should be changed to Willapa NWR boat ramp parking lot. Field Notes:  Jeldness Road is a privately owned road, Refuge had removed dike so there is no access to where the tide gate was.  Driving Directions:  Item 1-3. Since access to this site is by boat only direction should be to Willapa NWR boat ramp; Jeldness Road is privately owned and doesn’t provide access to this site.  NOTE:  I believe that this is the channel that goes along the outside of the dike that was removed. Specified the name of the strategy as “outside channel” as suggested and removed “Bay” from Refuge title. Removed language for the tide gate that no longer exists and removed associated implementation details related to closing the tide gate. Removed the use of Jeldness Road for access to strategy site that is no longer accessible by car because the road is private. Revised the strategy as boat access and deployable from the NWR boat launch/parking area, and included corresponding driving directions to the referenced change.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-41 P. 108-109 – Willapa Bay NWR Tide Gate #3 – Title: Change the title to Willapa NWR Porter Point Creek Slough; Refuge doesn’t have a tide gate at this location; Implementation:  Willapa NWR no longer has a tide gate at this location.  The phone number listed in this section should be changed to our new office number.  Who at the refuge should this be?  Change WB NWR to W NWR or WNWR.  Staging Area: Delete Bay and HQ from Willapa Bay NWR HQ.  This should be changed to Willapa NWR boat ramp parking lot.  NOTE:  We have a new HQ which is located at the east end of 67th Place off of Sandridge Road.  (Address ?). Field Notes:  Jeldness Road is a privately owned road, Refuge had removed dike so there is no access to where the tide gate was. Driving Directions:  Item 1-3. Since access to this site is by boat only direction should be to Willapa NWR boat ramp; Jeldness Road is privately owned and doesn’t provide access to this site.  NOTE:  I BELIEVE THAT THIS IS THE CHANNEL THAT GOES ALONG THE OUTSIDE OF THE DIKE THAT WAS REMOVED. Revised the name of the strategy to “Porter Point Creek Slough” as suggested and removed “Bay” from Refuge title. Removed language for the tide gate that no longer exists and removed associated implementation details related to closing the tide gate. Removed the use of Jeldness Road for access to strategy site that is no longer accessible by car because the road is private. Revised the strategy as boat access and deployable from the NWR boat launch/parking area, and included corresponding driving directions to the referenced change.
WB-42 P. 110 – Parker Slough (this is actually Dohman Creek) and Access:  Is only accessible by boat. Staging Area:  Change Willapa Bay NWR HQ to Willapa NWR boat ramp/parking lot. Field Notes:  This is not accessible through Jeldness Road. Driving Directions:  Change the (2.47 Miles) to ~5 miles.  Delete #5 (Government Road is a dead end) Revised the name of the strategy to “Dohman Creek” as suggested and removed “Bay” from Refuge title. Removed the use of Jeldness Road for access to strategy site that is no longer accessible by car because the road is private. Revised the strategy as boat access and deployable from the NWR boat launch/parking area, and included corresponding driving directions to the referenced change.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-43 P. 112-113 – Porter Point Unit Parker Slough Tide Gate. Title: Change this title to Riekkola Unit Dohman Creek. Implementation:  There is no longer a tide gate at this location so a boom will need to be deployed at the identified channel.  Contact number should be changed to WNWR new phone number at our new HQ location. Field Notes:  There is no dike access road to this location. So edit these notes. Driving Directions:  This should be directions to the WNWR boat ramp and parking lot at 3888 State Route (U.S 101), 98624. Revised the name of the strategy to “Riekkola Unit Dohman Creek” as suggested and revised contact number. Removed language for the tide gate that no longer exists. Revised the strategy, and added that it is boat access and deployable from the NWR boat launch/parking area, and included corresponding driving directions to the referenced change.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-44 P. 114-115 Tarlatt Unit (Lower Slough) Implementation:  Change WB NWR to WNWR;  There is no tide gate at this location.  The Tarlatt Slough tide gate is owned and maintained by Pacific County.  Boom should be deployed at the location identified for the Lower Slough which will need to be done by boat. Staging Area:  Change to Willapa NWR boat launch area. Field Notes:  This is wrong and since access to this site will need to be done by boat should be from the Willapa NWR boat ramp at 3888 SR 101 (U.S. 101), 98624. The actual tide gate for this is the Tarlatt Slough (Upper Slough) identified on pages 116-117.  Driving Directions on page 115 are to this tide gate. Removed “Bay” from the Refuge title and removed language for the tide gate that no longer exists and revised the associated implementation details related to Pacific County closing the tide gate. Revised the strategy as boat access and deployable from the NWR boat launch/parking area, and included corresponding driving directions to the referenced change.
Response Strategies and Priorities WB-45 P. 116-117 Tarlatt Unit (Upper Slough) Implementation:  Change Willapa Bay to Willapa, National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters to National Wildlife Refuge boat ramp.  Change WB USNWR to WNWR; change the contact number to WNWR new number and correct extension number. Removed “Bay” from Implementation, revised directions to NWR boat ramp and updated the contact number to the new NWR Headquarters building for notifications communication.
Notification Strategy WB-45 P.128-129 Tarlatt Slough Implementation and Communication Process and Action sections:  Change WB NWR to WNWR.  The contact number and extension needs to be changed to the new Long Beach number and to the correct extension number. Driving Directions:  This should be to our new HQ location at the east end of 67th Place (off Sandridge Rd). Removed “Bay” from Implementation, revised directions to NWR boat ramp and updated the contact number to be the new NWR Headquarters building for notifications and communication.
Notification Strategy WB-42 P. 130-131 Parker Slough (This is actually Dohman Creek) Implementation and Communication Process Action sections:  Change WB NWR to WNWR.  The contact number and extension needs to be changed to the new Long Beach number and to the correct extension number. Driving Directions:  This should be to our new HQ location at the east end of 67th Place (off Sandridge Rd). Revised the name of the strategy from Parker Sloug. Removed “B” from WB NWR acronym and replaced it with WNWR, revised directions to NWR boat ramp and updated the contact number to be the new NWR Headquarters building for notifications and communication.