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.

GRP Quarterly Newsletter – January 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 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 Fall, 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 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

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  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.

GRP Quarterly Newsletter – October, 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 Fall, 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 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:

GRP User Survey

The GRP Sub-Committee of the Northwest Area Committee has created a survey to better understand what elements of the Response Strategies and Priorities (2-pagers) people use and value the most. The sub-committee is looking for feedback from people who deploy, update, or otherwise use 2-pagers to make them as useful as possible during a response.

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  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 Contingency Plan maintain a high level of readiness to respond to oil spills.

 

Grays Harbor GRP: Full Update Published!

The Washington Department of Ecology is happy to announce the comprehensive update to the Grays Harbor Geographic Response Plan (GRP) is complete and the updated GRP is now published online. This update was a collaborative process and Ecology appreciates the work of all involved, including spill management and response experts, the oil industry, local, state, tribal, and federal governments, and the public.

View the draft GRP sections here: https://www.oilspills101.wa.gov/northwest-area-contingency-plan/geographic-response-plans-grps/grays-harbor-grp/

Description of the Planning Area

The area covered includes shorelines of the Pacific Coast adjacent to Grays Harbor, the Grays Harbor entrance, Oyhut Sink, Grays Harbor, North Bay, South Bay, Bowerman Basin, and the rivers and creeks in the area that drain into Grays Harbor. The communities of Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores, and Westport are located within this planning area, as well as portions of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties. Grays Harbor is within the usual and accustomed territories of several American Indian Tribes. The reservation of the Quinault Indian Nation is north of the City of Ocean Shores. The reservation of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe is south of the City of Westport. The Chehalis Confederated Tribes may have interest in the area’s resources as well.

What are Geographic Response Plans?

GRPs are used to guide early response actions in the event of an oil spill. Ecology develops and updates GRPs in collaboration with state, local and federal agencies and tribes. Each GRP is written for a specific area (for example a river, a lake, or section of Puget Sound), and includes tactical response strategies tailored to a particular shore or waterway at risk of injury from oil.

GRPs have two main objectives:

  • Identify sensitive natural, cultural or significant economic resources at risk of injury from oil spills.
  • Describe and prioritize response strategies in an effort to reduce injury to sensitive natural, cultural, and certain economic resources at risk from oil spills.

More Information
Learn more about GRPs.
See GRPs for Washington State.

Questions

Max Gordon
Oil Spill Preparedness Planner
Max.Gordon@ecy.wa.gov
360-972-4890

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 – December, 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 relavant 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.

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.

This quarter, we finished comprehensive updates of two GRPs: Snohomish Basin (formerly WRIA-7)  and Clark, Cowlitz, SW Lewis.  GRPs currently open for comprehensive updates are listed below, along with the contact information if you have questions or want to participate.

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 oportunity 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 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.

 

San Juan Islands GRP Update – May 2022

The comprehensive update of SJI-GRP has finally come to an end.  You can find the new and improved plan on oilspills101.wa.gov.

The plan was opened in May 2019 and after three years a great many changes have been made.  Among other things, many response strategies have been added and the planning area now encompasses the entirety of San Juan County.  Ecology wishes to thank the local experts who shared a lot of excellent information so that the plan could become better than ever.

In the future, this plan will be tested at various oil spill exercises and errors will be corrected as they are discovered.  If you yourself wish to suggest an improvement of some kind, please email GRPs@ecy.wa.gov and our team will be happy to make an interim update.