Middle Columbia River – Bonneville Pool GRP

  • Last full update: July 2024
  • Interim update: 2021
  • Public Comment: GRPs@ecy.wa.gov

Table of Contents


Site Description

This section provides a description of the physical features, hydrology, climate, and winds, found along the Middle Columbia River (MCR) corridor and includes an overview of the oil spill risks in the region.

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From the headwaters in British Columbia, the Columbia River travels 1,243 miles, running through Washington State, and serving as the northern border of most of Oregon before eventually flowing into the Pacific Ocean. This Geographic Response Plan (GRP) employs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) river mile system to name strategies and other locations. The count begins at the confluence of the river with the Pacific Ocean.

The Middle Columbia River region begins at river mile 145.4 immediately above the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Bonneville Lock and Dam and is subdivided into four separate GRPs, each a specific pool created by the three subsequent dams in the region: Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day, and McNary. The Lower Columbia River GRP contains the portion of the river from the Bonneville Dam to the ocean (oilspills101).

The MCRB-GRP encompasses the Bonneville Pool (also known as Lake Bonneville), a 46.6-mile reach of the Columbia River. The planning area is oriented on a west-east axis between the Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Lock and Dam (located at river mile 191.6). In Washington (i.e. the right bank of the river), portions of the Water Resource Inventory Areas Salmon-Washougal (WRIA 28), Wind-White Salmon (WRIA 29), and Klickitat (WRIA 30) are present (ECY). Also, one can find portions of the Oregon’s Watermaster Districts 3 and 20 (OWRD).

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Developed Areas

The cities of North Bonneville, Stevenson, White Salmon, and Bingen are located within this planning area, as well as portions of Skamania and Klickitat Counties in Washington (i.e. the right bank of the river). The cities of Cascade Locks, Hood River, Mosier, and The Dalles as well as Hood River and Wasco Counties are located in Oregon (i.e. the left bank of the river).

Tribes of the Middle Columbia River – Bonneville Pool

This planning area falls within the usual and accustomed territories of several American Indian Tribes. While there are no reservations located in this zone, The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRIFC) manages a number of in-lieu/treaty fishing access sites on behalf of the member tribes (CRITFC).

Federally recognized Tribes with access to the resources of this stretch of the river may include the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, and the Nez Perce Tribe.

Tribes can fill many roles during an oil spill response including full participation in Unified Command, providing resource specialists in the Environmental Unit, monitoring on-scene operations, and more. Information regarding tribal participation in a response is available on the Northwest Area Committee/Region 10 Regional Response Team website. Contact information for the tribes in this planning area can be found in the Resources at Risk section and on the Spill Response Contact Sheet.

Physical Features

Geology & Landscape

Beginning 40 million years ago, volcanic activity built up layers of mud, ash, and lava in what is now known as eastern and central Washington and Oregon. Basalt flows then covered the area, forming a strong foundation of basaltic rock. Subsequent lava and ash eruptions raised the Cascade Mountains. As the mountains rose, the Columbia River carved out a deep gorge.  The Ice Age flooding from Glacial Lake Missoula battered the gorge numerous times. This intense geomorphic action formed the sheer basalt cliffs that are now emblematic of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (CRGNSA). The sheer terrain present in the gorge, this gap in the Cascades, makes access to the riverbank difficult in places (USFS).

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Cultural Features

The Columbia Hills Archaeological District begins in the Lyle area. It extends eastward for some forty miles, well past the John Day Dam. The CRGNSA was established in 1986 and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It spans a stretch of the river longer than the Bonneville Pool, beginning near Portland & Vancouver and extending to the east some 14 miles of The Dalles Dam (USFS). There are five state parks within the planning area. Spring Creek Hatchery and Doug’s Beach are located in Washington and Viento, Memaloose, and Mayer are located in Oregon.

Shoreline Description

Despite the diverse change in scenery surrounding the Columbia River through each of its various pools, the shoreline/riverbank habitats remain relatively consistent over the course of the Middle Columbia River. The following shoreline types are present: exposed rocky headlands, wave-cut platforms, pocket beaches along exposed rocky shores, sand beaches, sand and gravel beaches, sand and cobble beaches, sheltered rocky shores, and sheltered marshes (ERMA).


The MCRB-GRP is defined by two USACE dams (Bonneville and The Dalles). The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) distributes the hydroelectric power they generate. The navigation locks at these dams and others upriver provide crucial transportation infrastructure for barges and other vessels transiting to the Tri-Cities and beyond (USACE).

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Socio-Economic Features

Fishing & Sustenance

The CRITFC treaty fishing sites rely partly on natural resources for sustenance, including fish (principally salmonids). The population at these sites grows and shrinks depending upon the time of year. Additionally, several fish hatcheries are in the planning area and wider watershed of the Bonneville Pool. Minimizing impacts to these specific resources could reduce food security impacts to these communities. One can find further information about these sites in the Response Strategies and Priorities section of the plan.

Recreation & Tourism

This region has many public recreational opportunities. The vast CRGNSA draws many visitors who seek natural beauty (USFS). It extends both to the west and east of the planning area (into LCR and MCRD-GRPs). Also, the unique conditions of the Gorge enable for world-class wind sports year-round (CGW2).


The Columbia River is the fourth largest river in North America and the largest in the Pacific Northwest. The watershed is equivalent in size to that of the country of France. The river travels a total of 1,243 miles, providing drainage for approximately 258,000 square miles of the Western United States and British Columbia, with numerous tributaries, both rivers and creeks, adding to the flow along the way (NW Council).

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The flow of water in this section of the Columbia River is controlled by outflows from both the Bonneville and The Dalles dams.  The Bonneville Pool has an average elevation of 76.5 feet above mean sea level during normal dam operations. Tributaries include the Klickitat, Little White Salmon, White Salmon, and Wind Rivers in Washington, and Hood River in Oregon. In Washington (i.e. the right bank of the river), portions of the Water Resource Inventory Areas Salmon-Washougal (WRIA 28), Wind-White Salmon (WRIA 29), and Klickitat (WRIA 30) are present (ECY). Also, one can find portions of the Oregon’s Watermaster Districts 3 and 20 (OWRD).

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Climate and Winds

The Bonneville Pool is in the transition zone between the temperate maritime climate west of the Cascade Mountains and the dry continental climate to the east.  The Hood River weather station reports that the mean annual temperature in the area is 51°F, ranging from an average low of 34°F in January, to an average high of 68°F in July. Recorded temperature extremes are -12°F and 108°F.  Mean precipitation is 32 inches, with two-thirds occurring between November and February.  Annual snowfall is 34 inches, with almost half occurring in January (NWS).

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The West-East corridor of the Columbia Gorge through the Cascade Mountain Range creates a climate interaction between the Washington/Oregon coasts and the continental interior. Due to the geologic formations and the atmospheric pressure imbalance surrounding this area, strong wind is frequently channeled through the Gorge year-round. In the summer, the wind comes predominately from the west. During the winter, it oscillates between easterly and westerly directions. This channeled wind is a conduit for air temperature in the surrounding regions as it funnels warm maritime air inland, and cold interior wind towards the coast.

Western winds carrying moisture in the air from the Pacific are pushed up against the Coast Range, the Olympic Mountains, and finally the Cascade mountains, creating a phenomenon known as a rain shadow (NOAA). As the air rises to pass over the mountains, it expands and cools, releasing moisture in the form of precipitation on their western flanks.  By the time these winds pass over the Cascades there is little moisture remaining, creating the shrubsteppe ecosystem that is emblematic of much of Eastern Washington (WDFW).

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Tides and Currents

There are no tidally influenced areas within the planning area. The river’s flow is governed strictly by the various dams, with USACE determining exactly when and how much water is allowed to pass through the spillways.

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Risk Assessment

This area is plentiful in natural, cultural, and economic resources, all at risk of injury from oil spills. Potential oil spill risks include, but are not limited to: oils that may sink (non-floating oils), rail transportation, large commercial vessel traffic, road systems, aircraft, recreational boating, and other oil spill risks.  This section briefly discusses these risks and how they could impact the GRP planning area.

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Non-Floating Oils: Both refined petroleum products and crude oils are transported in bulk within this planning area. Crude oil contains a mix of hydrocarbons with a wide range of properties, while a refined product is a single type of oil, such as diesel or gasoline. Depending on the oil and the characteristics of the water the oil is spilled into, some of the oil transported in this planning area may not float.

Different oils will behave differently when spilled to water. Some heavy oils will sink immediately, some oil suspends in the water column, and lighter oils may remain on the surface and evaporate within hours. Over time, oil that initially floats can weather and mix with sediment, causing it to submerge or sink. Non-floating oils pose a specific risk to the environment because they can harm underwater or bottom-dwelling species that would otherwise be unaffected during an oil spill that remained floating on the water’s surface.

Traditional response strategies, including the booming strategies in this GRP, are designed for floating oil. However, there are steps we can take to plan for and respond to a non-floating oil spill. The Non-Floating Oil Response Options and Considerations section provides an overview of areas where non-floating oil might accumulate if spilled in this area, along with information on specific tactics that may be effective during a response. More response options recommended for finding and recovering oil below the water’s surface can be found in the Non-Floating Oil Spill Response Tool (NWACP Section 9412).

Rail Transportation: Rail companies transport oil via both unit trains and manifest trains in this area. Unit trains include up to four locomotives, buffer cars, and 118 loaded tank cars transporting oil in 714-barrel (29,998 gallon) capacity USDOT-approved tank cars.  Manifest trains include up to four locomotives, a mix of non-oil merchandise cars, and one or more 714-barrel (29,998 gallon) capacity USDOT-approved tank cars carrying refined oil products, such as diesel, lubrication oil, or gasoline.  These trains may include emptied tank cars, each with residual quantities of up to 1,800 gallons of crude oil or petroleum products.  Every train locomotive typically holds a few hundred gallons of engine lubrication oil, plus saddle tanks that each have an approximate capacity of 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel.  Manifest trains may also transport biological oils and non-petroleum chemicals.

Unit trains carrying crude operate on specific routes. Unit trains carrying crude from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota enter Washington near Spokane, continue along the Columbia River to Vancouver, and then head north along I-5. Similar to the highways systems that parallel much of the Columbia River, rail transportation runs close to the water. BNSF Railway moves goods on the Washington side while Union Pacific’s tracks are located in Oregon.

A prime example of the risk posed by this method of oil transportation was the June 2016 train derailment in Mosier, Oregon (ECY).

Large Commercial Vessel Traffic: Bulk vessels transport crude and refined oil up and down the Columbia, each carrying millions of gallons as cargo plus hundreds of thousands of gallons of engine fuel. Bulk oil is also moved by tug and barge, including crude and other potentially non-floating oils.

The Ports of Skamania, Klickitat, and The Dalles are quite active (WPPA). Large commercial vessels typically carry significant amounts of heavy fuel oils and other refined products.

Road Systems: Vehicle traffic on roadways pose an oil spill risk in areas where they run adjacent to the shoreline, or cross over lakes, rivers, creeks, and ditches. Highway 14 in Washington and I-84 in Oregon run parallel to the river throughout the planning area. Bridges over the Columbia include the Bridge of the Gods (RM 148), Hood River Bridge (RM 169), and the Highway 197 Bridge (RM 190). A vehicle spill onto one of these bridges or roadways can cause fuel or oil to flow from hardened surfaces into the river or its tributaries. Commercial trucks can contain hundreds to thousands of gallons of fuel and oil, especially fully loaded tank trucks, and may carry almost any kind of cargo, including hazardous waste or other materials that might injure sensitive resources if spilled. Smaller vehicle accidents pose a risk as well, a risk commensurate to the volume of fuel and oil they carry.

Aircraft: Several airports are located within the area including the Cascade Locks State Airport in Cascade Locks, Key Way in Stevenson, and the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport in Dallesport (WSDOT). Landing strips at these airports are used for recreational, commercial, and transit purposes. With airports in the area, the potential exists for aircraft failures during inbound or outbound flights that could result in a spill with a release of jet fuel to the river or its tributaries.

Recreational Boating: Accidents involving recreational watercraft on the river have the potential to result in spills of anywhere from a few gallons of gasoline, up to hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel. Examples of such accidents include collisions, a vessel grounding, catching on fire, sinking, or exploding.  These types of accidents, as well as problems with bilge discharges and refueling operations, the most typical types of spills to occur, have a negative impact on sensitive river resources.

Other Spill Risks: Other potential oil spill risks in the area include dam turbine mechanical failures, road run-off during rain events, onshore or near shore construction activities where heavy equipment is being operated, and the migration of spilled oil through soil on lands adjacent to the river or along creek or stream banks.

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Resources at Risk

This section provides a summary of natural, cultural, and economic resources at risk in the planning area, including those resources at risk from oils with the potential to sink or submerge. It provides general information on habitat, fish, and wildlife resources, and locations in the area where sensitive natural resource concerns have been identified. It offers a summary of cultural resources that include fundamental procedures for the discovery of cultural artifacts and human skeletal remains. General information about flight restrictions, wildlife deterrence, and oiled wildlife can be found near the end of this section. You may download a list of economic resources in the Table of Contents on this webpage.

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This section is purposely broad in scope and should not be considered comprehensive. Some of the sensitive resources described in this section cannot be addressed in Response Strategies and Priorities because it is not possible to conduct effective response activities in these locations. Additional information from private organizations or federal, state, tribal, and local government agencies should also be sought during spills. This material is presented with enough detail to give general information about the area during the first phase of a spill response. During an actual incident, more information about resources at risk will be available from the Environmental Unit in the Planning Section.

Note: specific resource concerns related to areas that already have designated protection strategies may be found in the “Resources At Risk” column of the matrix describing the individual strategies.

The information provided in this section can be used in:

  • Assisting the Environmental Unit (EU) and Operations in developing ad hoc response strategies.
  • Providing resource-at-risk “context” to responders, clean-up workers, and others during the initial phase of a spill response in the GRP area.
  • Briefing responders and incident command staff that may be unfamiliar with sensitive resource concerns in the GRP area.
  • Providing background information for personnel involved in media presentations and public outreach during a spill incident.
  • Providing information on benthic and water column species or cultural resources present to assist in planning for oils with the potential to sink or submerge.

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Natural Resources at Risk – Summary

This area contains a wide variety of aquatic, riparian, and upland habitats. These habitats support many of Washington’s salmonid species as well as a complex diversity of other wildlife. In addition to those species directly at risk to oil spills, others (due to their life histories and/or behaviors) are unlikely to become directly oiled during a spill incident but may be disturbed by response operations such as cleanup and reconnaissance. Some of the bird species are resident throughout the year, but many others seasonally migrate through the area.

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Several of the species found in this area have been classified under the Federal Endangered Species Act or by the Washington State Fish and Wildlife commission.

  • Federal Endangered (FE)
  • Federal Threatened (FT)
  • Federal Candidate (FC)
  • State Endangered (SE)
  • State Threatened (ST)
  • State Sensitive (SS)

Federal and State listed species (subspecies shown in parentheses) that may occur within this area include:


  • American white pelican [ST (WA)]
  • common loon [SS (WA)]
  • greater sage grouse [ST (WA)]
  • northern spotted owl [FT/SE (WA) / ST (OR)]
  • sandhill crane [SE (WA)]
  • yellow billed cuckoo [FT/SE (WA)]


  • Fisher [FC/SE (WA)]
  • gray squirrel (western) [ST (WA)]
  • gray wolf [FE/SE (WA)]
  • wolverine [FC/ST (OR)]


  • Bull trout [FT]
  • Chinook salmon:
    • (lower Columbia) [FT]
    • Fall (Snake) [FT/ST (OR)]
    • Spring/Summer (Snake) [FT/ST (OR)]
    • Spring (upper Columbia) [FE]
    • Spring (upper Willamette River) [FT])
  • Chum salmon (Columbia) [FT]
  • Coho salmon (lower Columbia) [FT/SE (OR)]
  • Sockeye salmon (Snake) [FE]
  • Steelhead trout:
    • (lower Columbia) [FT]
    • (middle Columbia) [FT]
    • (Snake) [FT]
    • (upper Columbia) [FT]
    • (upper Willamette) [FT]


  • Larch Mountain salamander [SS (WA)]
  • Western pond turtle [SE (WA)]

Critical habitats are the specific areas occupied by an endangered or threatened species that contain the physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of that species – and that may need special management or protection.  Critical habitat may also include areas that were not occupied by the species at the time of listing but are essential to its conservation. The following species have federally designated critical habitats within this area:

  • Bull trout
  • Chinook salmon:
    • (lower Columbia)
    • Fall (Snake)
    • Spring (upper Columbia)
  • Chum salmon (Columbia)
  • Coho salmon (lower Columbia)
  • Northern spotted owl
  • Sockeye salmon – Spring/Summer (Snake)
  • Steelhead:
    • (lower Columbia)
    • (middle Columbia)
    • (upper Columbia)
    • (Snake)

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General Resource Concerns


  • Wetlands in this region are all fresh water and range from seasonal open marshes to forested swamps along rivers and streams. All wetland types support a diverse array of amphibian, bird, insect and fish and wildlife species.
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  • Side channels and impounded areas provide feeding and resting areas for waterfowl and herons and are important rearing areas for juvenile fish.
  • Several rivers and smaller tributary streams flow into the mainstem of the Columbia River within this area. These act as important salmon migration routes and spawning areas, as well as providing rearing habitat for juvenile salmonids and resident fish species. The associated riparian scrub and woodlands play a crucial role in supporting a large diversity and abundance of songbird species as breeding, migrating, and overwintering habitat.
  • Islands provide important nesting areas for a variety of bird species, as well as habitat for a variety of mammals.
  • Stream mouths are concentration areas for anadromous fish and are feeding areas for a variety of birds.
  • Numerous habitat restoration sites exist along the middle Columbia River and its tributaries. Often, significant resources have been invested in these locations to improve stream conditions specific to salmon recovery.
  • The shallow subsurface habitats that occur within this region include:
    • Fine sediments (mud/silt/sand) – Associated with slow/still water flows. May have aquatic vegetation present.
      • Animals associated with these areas may be: salmonid and resident fishes; birds (dabbling ducks); semi-aquatic mammals (muskrat, beaver, etc.); shellfish (freshwater clams); amphibians and reptiles (frogs, newts, salamanders, turtles, etc.); insects caddis flies, mayflies, dragonflies, and stoneflies). Many other animals also utilize these areas for foraging.
    • Coarse sediments (gravel/cobble) – Associated with moderate water flow. May have aquatic vegetation present.
      • Animals associated with these areas may be: salmonid and resident fishes; birds (dippers, harlequin ducks); semi-aquatic mammals (muskrat, beaver, etc.); shellfish (pearlshell mussels, crayfish); amphibians and reptiles (tailed frogs, torrent salamanders; insects caddis flies, stoneflies). Many other animals also utilize these areas for foraging.
    • Bedrock – Associated with fast water with little or no deposition of loose bed materials. Aquatic vegetation not typically present.
      • Animals associated with these areas tend to be mostly cold-water (salmonid) fishes, birds (dippers, harlequin ducks), and amphibians (torrent salamanders).


  • Various salmonids (both juvenile and adults) are present in the river above the Bonneville Dam throughout the year. Millions of juvenile salmonids move downstream past the dam to use estuarine waters as a rearing and foraging area as they prepare for migration to the ocean. Returning adult salmonids of various types and stocks support significant tribal and recreational fisheries.
  • Anadromous fish (other than salmon) in this region include American shad and Pacific lamprey.
  • Resident fish present year-round in the river include white sturgeon, walleye, largemouth bass, crappie, perch, bullheads, and northern pike minnow.


  • Significant waterfowl concentrations exist throughout this GRP region from fall through spring. Hundreds of thousands of geese, swans and dabbling ducks may occupy this region during peak periods. Resident and migratory waterfowl heavily utilize the islands, backwaters, wetlands and adjacent uplands of the region from fall through spring. Numerous islands in this sub-region also provide nesting habitat for resident waterfowl.
  • Bald eagles andgreat blue herons are nesting residents and may be found year-round throughout the region. Peregrine falcons are commonly found as winter and spring visitors. Other raptors, including golden eagles, osprey, northern harrier, northern spotted owl, and burrowing owl are also regularly found in this area.
  • Resident and migratory songbirds heavily utilize riparian habitats year-round and are susceptible to response activity that disturb riparian vegetation.
  • Mammals common to the region include managed species such as mule and black-tailed deer, bear, etc. Other mammals present include semi-aquatic species such as beaver, muskrat, river otter, mink and raccoon. Because of their habitat preferences, these latter species are vulnerable to contact with spilled oil.

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Specific Geographic Areas of Concern

  1. Rock Creek Cove and Ashes Lake (~RM 149). Extensive wetland and impounded water habitat. Concentration area for migratory and wintering Raptor nests associated with Ashes Lake. Salmonid concentration area. Amphibian habitat (including larch mountain salamander [SS (WA)].
  2. Lower Wind River (~RM 154). Forested wetlands and impounded areas. Salmonids (including chinook [FT] and steelhead trout [FT]. Waterfowl nesting area.
  3. Drano Lake (~RM 162). Impounded area, salmonid and waterfowl concentrations, raptor nesting, loons [SS (WA)]. Fish Hatchery.
  4. Lower White Salmon River (~RM 168). Impounded area. Migratory and wintering waterfowl, raptors, and salmonids (including bull trout [FT], chinook [FT], and steelhead [FT]).
  5. Rowland and Look Lakes (~RM 176). Impounded areas. Wetlands. Waterfowl concentrations area, raptor nesting, salmonids and resident fish.
  6. Chamberlain/McClure Lakes (~RM 179). Impounded areas. Wetlands. Waterfowl concentrations area, raptor nesting, salmonids and resident fish. State Park (Lake McClure).
  7. Lower Klickitat River (~RM 180). Forested wetland and impounded area. Salmonids (including bull trout [FT] and steelhead trout [FT]), resident fish; waterfowl concentration and wintering area. County park.

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Specific Geographic Areas of Concern – Maps and Descriptions


Middle Columbia River – Bonneville Pool Specific Geographic Areas of Concern

Cultural Resources at Risk – Summary

Culturally significant resources are present within the planning area.  Information regarding the type and location of cultural resources is maintained by the Washington Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation (WDAHP).  This sensitive information is made available to the Washington Department of Ecology for oil spill preparedness and response planning.  The Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs) or Cultural Resource Departments of local tribes (see table below) may also be able to provide information on cultural resources at risk in the area and should be contacted, along with WDAHP, through normal trustee notification processes when significant oil spills, or smaller spills above reportable thresholds, occur in the area.

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During a spill response, after the Unified Command is established, information related to specific archeological concerns will be coordinated through the Environmental Unit.  To ensure that tactical response strategies do not inadvertently harm culturally sensitive sites, WDAHP should be consulted before disturbing any soil or sediment during a response action, including submerged soils or sediments.  WDAHP and/or the Tribal governments may assign a person or provide a list of professional archeologists that can be contracted, to monitor response activities and cleanup operations for the protection of cultural resources at risk.  Due to the sensitive nature of such information, details regarding the location and type of cultural resources present are not included in this document.

MCRB-GRP Cultural Resources Contacts

Contact Phone Email
Washington Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation (WDAHP) (360) 586-3065 Rob.Whitlam@dahp.wa.gov
State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
(503) 986-0690 oregon.heritage@oprd.oregon.gov
Nez Perce Tribe, THPO (208) 621-3851 keithb@nezperce.org
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla
Indian Reservation, THPO
(541) 429-7234 careymiller@ctuir.org
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, THPO (541) 553-2002 robert.brunoe@ctwsbnr.com
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, THPO (509) 985-7596 kate_valdez@yakama.com

Discovery of Human Skeletal Remains

The finding of human skeletal remains will be reported to the county medical examiner/coroner and local law enforcement in the most expeditious manner possible.  The remains will not be touched, moved, or further disturbed. The county medical examiner/coroner will assume jurisdiction over the human skeletal remains and make a determination of whether those remains are forensic or non-forensic.  If the county medical examiner/coroner determines the remains are non-forensic, then they will report that finding to the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) who will then take jurisdiction over the remains.  The DAHP will notify any appropriate cemeteries and all affected tribes of the find.  The State Physical Anthropologist will make a determination of whether the remains are Indian or Non-Indian and report that finding to any appropriate cemeteries and the affected tribes.  The DAHP will then handle all consultation with the affected parties as to the future preservation, excavation, and disposition of the remains.

Any human remains, burial sites, or burial-related materials that are discovered during a spill response must be treated with respect at all times (photographing human remains is prohibited to all except the appropriate authorities).  Refer to National Historic Preservation Act Compliance Guidelines (NWRCP Section 9403) during an emergency response.

Procedures for the Discovery of Cultural Resources

If any person monitoring work activities or involved in spill response believes that they have encountered cultural resources, all workers must stop immediately and notify the Unified Command and Cultural Resource Specialist. The area of work stoppage must be adequate to provide for the security, protection, and integrity of the material or artifact(s) discovered.

Prehistoric Cultural Resources (May include, but are not limited to, any of the following items):

  • Lithic debitage (stone chips and other tool-making byproducts)
  • Flaked or ground stone tools
  • Exotic rock, minerals, or quarries
  • Concentrations of organically stained sediments, charcoal, or ash
  • Fire-modified rock
  • Rock alignments or rock structures
  • Bone (burned, modified, or in association with other bone, artifacts, or features)
  • Shell or shell fragments
  • Petroglyphs and pictographs
  • Fish weirs, fish traps, and prehistoric water craft
  • Culturally modified trees
  • Physical locations or features (traditional cultural properties)
  • Submerged villages sites or artifacts

Historic cultural material (May include any of the following items over 50 years old):

  • Bottles, or other glass
  • Cans
  • Ceramics
  • Milled wood, brick, concrete, metal, or other building material
  • Trash dumps
  • Homesteads, building remains
  • Logging, mining, or railroad features
  • Piers, wharves, docks, bridges, dams, or shipwrecks
  • Shipwrecks or other submerged historical objects

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Economic Resources at Risk – Summary

Socio-economic sensitive resources are facilities or locations that rely on a body of water to be economically viable.  Because of their location, they could be severely impacted if an oil spill were to occur.  Economically sensitive resources are separated into three categories: critical infrastructure, water dependent commercial areas, and water dependent recreation areas.  Another plan section lists economic resources for this area.

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General Information

Flight Restriction Zones: The Environmental Unit (Planning Section) may recommend flight restriction zones to minimize disturbance or injury to wildlife during an oil spill. Pilots/operators can decrease the risk of aircraft/bird collisions, prevent the accidental driving of wildlife into oiled areas, and minimize abandonment of nests by keeping a safe distance and altitude from these identified sensitive areas.

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The Air Operations Branch (Operations Section) will manage all aircraft operations related to a response and will coordinate the establishment of any Flight Restriction Zones as appropriate. Environmental Unit staff will work with the Air Operations Branch Director to resolve any conflicts that arise between flight activities and sensitive resources.

In addition to restrictions associated with wildlife, Tribal authorities may also request notification when overflights are likely to affect culturally sensitive areas within reservations.  See Oil Spill Best Management Practices (NWRCP Section 9301) for more information on the use of aircraft and helicopters in open water and shoreline responses.

Wildlife Deterrence: The Wildlife Deterrence Unit within the Wildlife Branch (Operations Section) manages wildlife deterrence operations. These are actions intended to minimize injuries to wildlife by keeping animals away from the oil and cleanup operations. Deterrence activities may include using acoustic or visual deterrent devices, boats, aircraft or other tools. The Wildlife Branch works with state and federal agencies, and the Environmental Unit (Planning Section), to develop deterrence plans as appropriate.

For more information see the Northwest Wildlife Response Plan (NWACP Section 9310) and Northwest Area Wildlife Deterrence Resources (NWACP Section 9311).

Oiled Wildlife: Capturing oiled wildlife may be hazardous to both personnel and the affected animals. Incident personnel should not try to approach or capture oiled wildlife but should report any observations of oiled wildlife to the Wildlife Branch (Operations Section).

For more information see the Northwest Wildlife Response Plan (NWACP Section 9310).

Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness Areas: There are no wildlife refuges or wilderness areas in this planning area.

Aquatic Invasive Species: The waters of this region may contain aquatic invasive species (AIS) – species of plants and/or animals that are not native to an area and that can be harmful to an area’s ecosystem. If so, preventative actions may be required to prevent the spread of these species as a result of spill response activities and the Environmental Unit is able to recommend operational techniques and strategies to assist with this issue.

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