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Tar Balls On Beaches Affecting Wildlife

Federal agencies along with Washington and Oregon state agencies are responding to a tar-like substance from an unknown source affecting a shoreline near Beards Hollow, Washington, and multiple birds in northern Oregon and southern Washington, Wednesday.

The oil spill response organization NWFF Environmental has been contracted to clean up tar balls that were discovered along Benson Beach and a beach at Beards Hollow in Ilwaco, Washington.

Responders have collected samples of the tar balls and sent them to a lab for analysis.

The first reports of tar balls and potentially contaminated wildlife began on Sunday, May 19.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, a total of ten contaminated birds have been located at various locations extending from Lincoln City, Oregon, north to Long Beach, Washington.

In Washington, four contaminated Common Murres were recovered by rescue personnel, as well as two dead contaminated murres. One of the live murres was euthanized following further evaluation of its injuries. Four contaminated murres were also recovered alive in Oregon.

The Coast Guard conducted a shoreline assessment in Long Beach, Washington, and two helicopter overflights of the Oregon and Washington coastlines with no reports of additional affected areas. A joint team consisting of members from Washington Ecology and the Coast Guard conducted shoreline assessments Tuesday along Long Beach. The public is strongly advised to not to handle any tar or oily product found or attempt to assist affected wildlife along the shore, but to report these findings to 1-800-22-BIRDS (1-800-222-4737).

Untrained handling of affected wildlife is dangerous to the animals and any individuals attempting to help.  The Coast Guard and other agencies are working together to determine the source of the tar-like substance. At this time, the source is currently unknown.

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