The Department of Ecology has been working locally with tribes, local, state and federal partners, and environmental groups since 2017 to develop a vessel traffic risk assessment for Grays Harbor. This work was directed by the state budget and builds on previous work we’ve completed for the Columbia River, Salish Sea, and the 2014 Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study. The assessment identifies oil spill risks posed by commercial vessels, proposes actions to improve spill prevention, and assesses the region’s preparedness to respond to a spill.
Why it matters
About 100 deep-draft commercial vessels call on Grays Harbor each year. A major spill here could risk harm to the local environment, economy, public health and cultural and historical resources, including nearby Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and valuable commercial fishing operations.
The port has an active Harbor Safety Committee and strong partnerships between maritime professionals who work around the clock to facilitate safe, efficient movement of ships into and out of Grays Harbor. Nonetheless, there is always more work we can do to make oil transportation as safe as possible.
Benefits of a risk assessment
Vessel traffic risk assessments help local communities prepare and plan for a response to oil-related incidents that could impact major waterways. Our participation adds value because we know when and how oil moves through the state and the associated risks, so we can recommend cost-effective spill prevention measures locally.
Your voice matters
We invite you to review the assessment and let us know what you think. We’re holding a public comment period on the draft report through Dec. 6, 2018.
Please visit our website to learn more and to provide your comments.
If you have questions, please contact Brian Kirk at [email protected] or 425-649-7292.