Press Release

AQUASCO, MD (May 8, 2000) --Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research has released all but one of the birds it had admitted for rehabilitation in connection with the April oil spill near Swanson Creek. The organization is continuing to care for one ruddy duck, which is believed to have been ill prior to the accident.

Dr. Heidi Stout, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research’s on-scene veterinarian, said she is encouraged by the cleanup progress that has been made around the Patuxent River and nearby creeks. "We are moving ahead with our releases because birds currently living in the affected areas are doing very well," said Dr. Stout. "The isolated areas that are still impacted do not pose a significant threat to the animals we are releasing."

Dr. Stout added that there is still oil in the area that could cause superficial stains on birds, but it should not cause them any harm. "It is possible that residents may see birds with an oil smudge or a similar cosmetic stain, but they should be aware that this small amount of weathered oil does not pose a health threat," reported Stout.

Residents who do see an animal in distress are asked to call (301) 579-6098.

Later this week, when temperatures are cooler, the Chesapeake Wildlife Sanctuary also plans to release a group of mallards. The media will be notified of the date, time and location of the release.

Statements Below are Advisories

The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE), in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and local health departments received the results of laboratory analyses of fish, crab and shellfish samples taken from the Patuxent River following the spill. Samples from the affected area and surrounding waters were analyzed for substances that might indicate exposure to petroleum. The substances found were at levels similar to fish from other areas of the Chesapeake Bay which have not been affected by the oil spill. Therefore, we are confident that fish, crabs and shellfish harvested from the Patuxent River are safe to eat. It should be noted that common sense and individual judgment should always be exercised in determining whether, crabs, fish or any other food source is safe to eat.
The entire Patuxent River is open to vessel traffic. However, there are creeks that remain boomed off. A Marine Information Broadcast (MIB) is in effect. An MIB is a U.S. Coast Guard-issued radio broadcast that announces the transit conditions of the river. Commercial and recreational craft are not to cross boomed areas. In addition, vessels are asked to keep the wake down where booms or cleanup crews are present. Inquiries from commercial vessels requiring transit into boomed areas can be directed to Coast Guard Activities Baltimore Port Safety and Security at (410) 576-2693. Recreational users should contact the on-scene Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police officer at (888) 584-3110.