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Indigenous guardians contain 60% of diesel spill at Rivers Inlet

Crab, eelgrass, ducks and geese some of the species at risk following diesel spill
Sheening was reported in the Rivers Inlet area south of Bella Coola after thousands of litres of diesel was released. The incident was reported on Feb. 15 before 4:30 p.m. said the B.C. Government. (Google Maps)

Numerous marine plant and wildlife species have been impacted in northern B.C., after fuel from a tanker truck ended up in part of Rivers Inlet.

Over the B.C. Family Day long weekend between 7,000 to 8,000 litres of diesel fuel was released due to what is believed to have been a crack in a line from one of the trailer units parked at the old Rivers Inlet Cannery site.

Guardians with Wuikinuxv Nation, located south of Bella Coola, assessed the leaked fuel’s disbursement late Tuesday (Feb. 16), which was spilled into the Wannock (Owikeno) River and Rivers Inlet marine environment – close to ecologically rich wetland and estuary sites.

Crab, eelgrass, ducks and geese, wild rice and root gardens, outgoing juvenile salmon and incoming spawning eulachon and herring have been identified by the Nation as resources that need immediate protection.

After meetings with Environment Canada, Coast Guard and other officials, Wuikinuxv Nation said in an update Wednesday that the large diesel slick in the inlet has not entered Kildala Bay and estuary, and will likely continue to move west out of the inlet.”

READ MORE: New report assesses B.C. coast’s oil spill sensitivity, and it’s high

Wuikinuxv and Heiltsuk Guardians have been able to contain 60 per cent of the area where the diesel is entering the inlet.

Spill areas on the land were mopped up with tarps placed on the site to prevent rainwater from washing more diesel out into the inlet. Containment boom and sorbents have also been deployed.

Transport Canada NASP flight results with the spill mapped in the marine have been given to B.C. officials.

READ MORE: B.C. shoreline cleanup nets 127 tonnes of marine debris

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