On Thursday, April 23, a multi-agency oil spill response field exercise will be carried out from about 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the mouth of the Indian River in Sitka National Historical Park.
The effort is part of an ongoing commitment by federal, state, and local governments, along with the oil industry to improve and enhance oil spill prevention and response capabilities and protect sensitive coastal resources. Participating agencies include the National Park Service, United States Coast Guard, and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in partnership with the Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization (SeaPro). The exercise will also include participation from local government and private industry.
The Indian River is a valued habitat for plants, fish including salmon, trout and herring, wildlife including waterfowl and shorebirds, and is a location of historical and recreational significance. The Indian River was one of two sites in Sitka, along with Pirate Cove, to be selected for this exercise to test the effectiveness of a Geographic Response Strategy. Geographic Response Strategies are site-specific response plans tailored to protect environmentally sensitive areas that have the potential to be impacted by an oil spill.
Thursday’s exercise is part of a weeklong training and planning effort in Sitka that begins Monday, April 20, at Harrigan Centennial Hall, and is part of an even larger emergency planning effort that has been years in the making.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about the Sitka National Historical Park at http://www.nps.gov/sitk or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.