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The Council sponsors many studies to help our work to reduce pollution from crude oil transportation in Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska.

This work depends on quality, accurate research. The Council regularly retains experts to conduct independent research on oil transportation safety and the environmental impacts of the Valdez Marine Terminal and tankers. 

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New Documents/Reports: 

Flyer: European green crab have arrived in Alaska


View: Flyer: European green crab have arrived in Alaska
Author: PWSRCAC
Date: November 23, 2022
File size: 0.7 MB

2022 Financial Statement


View: 2022 Financial Statement
Date: November 23, 2022
File size: 0.3 MB

Year In Review 2021-2022


View: Year In Review 2021-2022
Date: November 18, 2022
File size: 2.6 MB

Prince William Sound Out-Of-Region Oil Spill Response Equipment Survey

This report presents a survey of oil spill response equipment available from outside the Prince William Sound (PWS)/Gulf of Alaska region to supplement the response to an oil spill from a tanker covered under the PWS Tanker Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan (PWS Tanker Plan).

The report examines the sources of out-of-region oil spill response equipment listed in the PWS shippers’ contingency plans and associated agreements listed in those plans. It examines State of Alaska requirements for contractual access to out-of-region response equipment and compares those requirements to some of the agreements listed by the plan holders.

The report also includes an inventory of equipment available from out-of-region, focusing on the feasibility of outfitting 14 Nearshore Task Forces (NSTFs).
View: Prince William Sound Out-Of-Region Oil Spill Response Equipment Survey
Author: Nuka Research and Planning Group
Date: September 1, 2022
File size: 0.8 MB

Variation in Zooplankton Community Composition in Prince William Sound across Space and Time

This report summarizes a genetic analysis of zooplankton in Prince William Sound. The researchers sought to understand how zooplankton communities varied between locations and through time. This information will help improve the Council’s monitoring program for marine invasive species.
View: Variation in Zooplankton Community Composition in Prince William Sound across Space and Time
Author: Dr. Katrina Lohan, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and Dr. Jon Geller, Moss Landing Marine Laboratory
Date: July 5, 2022
File size: 1.1 MB

Marine Bird Winter Surveys in Prince William Sound - Year 2

This report summarizes the second of three Council-sponsored winter-time surveys of marine birds in and around the tanker escort zones of Prince William Sound. This work will help the Council understand local bird populations and habitats, the risks posed from an oil spill, and where special monitoring or protection is needed. Additionally, these surveys provide baseline monitoring information that can be used to understand the environmental impacts of terminal and tanker operations on marine bird species.
View: Marine Bird Winter Surveys in Prince William Sound - Year 2
Author: A. Schaefer and M.A. Bishop, Prince William Sound Science Center
Date: August 5, 2022
File size: 3.3 MB

Evaluation of Peer Listener Program

This evaluation provides a comprehensive analysis of PWSRCAC’s Peer Listener Program to improve program operation and generate new knowledge focused on its next iteration, building on its existing strengths and incorporating best practices from both academic research and active peer listening programs nationwide.
View: Evaluation of Peer Listener Program
Author: Purpose Driven Consulting
Date: August 2, 2022
File size: 0.9 MB

Crude Oil Storage Tank 8 Floor and Cathodic Protection System Design Review

This study reviewed preliminary design documents for the floor and CP system replacement as well as historical operating data for the VMT tank CP systems. It has resulted in the development of a number of findings and recommendations. General findings and recommendations are discussed in the executive summary. Detailed discussions are provided in Section 3.
View: Crude Oil Storage Tank 8 Floor and Cathodic Protection System Design Review
Author: William Mott, Taku Engineering
Date: June 1, 2022
File size: 2.4 MB

PWSRCAC's Position On The Use Of Chemical Dispersants

The Council's position on the use of chemical dispersants.
View: PWSRCAC's Position On The Use Of Chemical Dispersants
Author: PWSRCAC
Date: September 26, 2022
File size: 0.2 MB

PWSRCAC Dispersant Use Position Press Release


View: PWSRCAC Dispersant Use Position Press Release
Date: October 4, 2022
File size: 0.9 MB

Dispersant Use Position Update - Report On Board Of Directors Workshops

This report is an interim deliverable to the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (PWSRCAC) under contract 9550.22.01 to support the Council’s intention to update their position on the use of dispersants in Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska.

This report updates information included in the April 2022 Background Report (which was distributed in draft form to the PWSRCAC Board of Directors as a discussion document preceding a March 10, 2022 workshop) and summarizes the proceedings of the March workshop and three subsequent workshops that were conducted to inform and refine PWSRCAC’s dispersant use position.

This report also includes a draft position statement for review and consideration by PWSRCAC staff, Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) members, and Board.
View: Dispersant Use Position Update - Report On Board Of Directors Workshops
Date: October 4, 2022
File size: 1.6 MB

Long Term Environmental Monitoring Program 2021 Technical Supplement

This document is the technical supplement for the Long Term Environmental Monitoring Program 2021 Summary Report.

 
View: Long Term Environmental Monitoring Program 2021 Technical Supplement
Author: Owl Ridge Natural Resource Consultants, Morgan L. Bender
Date: September 30, 2022
File size: 5.8 MB

Long Term Environmental Monitoring Program 2021 Summary Report

The Long-Term Environmental Monitoring Program (LTEMP), managed by the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, is in its 28th year of monitoring hydrocarbons in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Through LTEMP, we are able to determine the source of hydrocarbons and the potential adverse effects on the ecosystem from Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Valdez Marine Terminal and tanker activity. These data have been insightful in understanding the influence of terminal and non-terminal sources of hydrocarbons and environmental factors on hydrocarbon dynamics across Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska.

The following study presents the 2021 results from the LTEMP in Port Valdez and aims to determine:

  • The extent, if any, that the terminal and associated tankers’ hydrocarbon fingerprint is present in 2021 samples.

  • The potential environmental and toxicological risk posed by the measured hydrocarbon contribution from the terminal and tankers.

  • Other factors (e.g., environmental or anthropogenic) that may be influencing hydrocarbon presence and composition in 2021 samples and the toxicological relevance of these results.

  • How the 2021 data compare to historical LTEMP trends and whether new analysis supports previous conclusions.

  • Recommendations for future monitoring of petroleum hydrocarbons at the terminal and in Prince William Sound.


Prepared by: Morgan L. Bender
Contributors: James R. Payne and William B. Driskell
View: Long Term Environmental Monitoring Program 2021 Summary Report
Author: Owl Ridge Natural Resource Consultants, Morgan L. Bender
Date: May 30, 2022
File size: 2.1 MB

PWSRCAC Sept 2022 Board Meeting Press Release


View: PWSRCAC Sept 2022 Board Meeting Press Release
Date: September 15, 2022
File size: 0.5 MB

Summer 2022 Observer


View: Summer 2022 Observer
Date: July 12, 2022
File size: 2.5 MB

Full Report: Mussel Chemistry and Transcriptomic Response after a Minor Alaskan Oil Spill

For this report, researchers analyzed mussels for oil concentrations and genetic response to the April 2020 spill, both near and far away from the spill site. When a mussel is exposed to a chemical irritant such as crude oil, certain genes respond, triggering mRNA to carry a message to the mussel’s cells. That message tells the cells how to deal with the irritant. Every irritant triggers a different pattern of genes. The scientists looked for the genetic and chemical response patterns unique to crude oil. Their analysis showed that both oil concentrations and gene response spiked then decreased with time, however the genetic response peaked at a later time.

This document is the full report for the previously posted executive summary report.

 
View: Full Report: Mussel Chemistry and Transcriptomic Response after a Minor Alaskan Oil Spill
Author: Lizabeth Bowen, William B. Driskell, James R. Payne, Austin Love, Eric Litman, Brenda Ballachey
Date: September 22, 2021
File size: 7.7 MB

Utilizing Numerical Simulation to Estimate the Volume of Oil Leaked Through a Damaged Secondary Containment Liner

Executive Summary

Numerical analysis was used to simulate a catastrophic failure of the largest crude oil tank, Tank 11, in the Valdez Marine Terminal’s (VMT) East Tank Farm (ETF). The goal of this analysis was to quantify the volume of oil that would escape Tank 11’s secondary containment system in such a worst-case scenario. Field testing has revealed that a component of the ETF’s secondary containment systems, known as the catalytically blown asphalt (CBA) liner, likely has unrepaired holes in it that could allow oil to reach groundwater in the event of a spill, but the secondary containment systems are required to protect groundwater from oil spill contamination. Alyeska’s spill response activities (e.g. times and recovery/processing rates) were modelled based on their stated capacities.  To simulate how much oil could leak through a damaged CBA liner, this analysis considered the following key factors, among others: full storage volume of Tank 11, area of Tank 11’s secondary containment system, hydraulic conductivity or permeability of the earthen fill above the buried CBA liner, depth of that earthen fill, rate which spilled oil could be drained from the secondary containment area, time estimate for spill cleanup, and an estimate of the percentage of CBA liner damage (i.e., holes). The results of the simulation indicate that the earthen fill above the CBA liner will be fully saturated with oil in under 8 minutes. Assuming a value of 0.1% liner damage, the standing oil will be drained in approximately 2.8 days; however, 38,000 barrels of oil will have leaked from secondary containment during this time period. Over the entire 30-day clean-up window, the simulation estimates that approximately 125,000 barrels of oil will be discharged through damage in the CBA liner.
View: Utilizing Numerical Simulation to Estimate the Volume of Oil Leaked Through a Damaged Secondary Containment Liner
Author: Matt Cullin, Austin Love, and Tom Kuckertz
Date: February 7, 2022
File size: 2.1 MB

2020 Form 990

The Council's income tax returns for 2020.
View: 2020 Form 990
Date: April 29, 2021
File size: 3.3 MB

2021 Form 990

The Council's income tax returns for 2021.
View: 2021 Form 990
Date: May 4, 2022
File size: 3.4 MB

Geographic Response Planning for the Copper River Delta and Flats

This report by Sierra Fletcher, Breck Tostevin, and Tim Robertson of Nuka Research documents the history of the development of geographic response strategies (GRS) for the Copper River Delta and Flats (CRD&F) area east of Prince William Sound. This area hosts numerous species, cultural sites, and important fisheries. It is also a challenging area for spill responders. Geographic features include high energy beaches, shallow tidal waters, changing channels, barrier islands, and braided river drainages.

A response plan developed specifically for this area was adopted into the government response plan in 1999, as had been agreed in a legal settlement among the fisheries organizations, oil shippers, and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC). However, the CRD&F Plan was left out of later versions of government plan and is no longer included in any response plans accessible as of the release of this report.

Along with the history of the GRS’ development, the researchers reviewed the previous GRS and provide advice on what information is still relevant today.
View: Geographic Response Planning for the Copper River Delta and Flats
Author: Sierra Fletcher, Breck Tostevin, and Tim Robertson of Nuka Research
Date: March 1, 2022
File size: 1.1 MB

May 2022 Board Officers Press Release


View: May 2022 Board Officers Press Release
Date: May 6, 2022
File size: 0.5 MB

PWSRCAC Press Release - Seward Fishing Vessel Training Tour


View: PWSRCAC Press Release - Seward Fishing Vessel Training Tour
Author: Brooke Taylor
Date: April 14, 2022
File size: 0.5 MB

Spring 2022 Observer


View: Spring 2022 Observer
Author: PWSRCAC
Date: March 1, 2022
File size: 1.4 MB

Executive Summary: Mussel Oiling and Genetic Response to the April 2020 Valdez Marine Terminal Spill

For this report, researchers analyzed mussels for oil concentrations and genetic response to the April 2020 spill, both near and far away from the spill site. When a mussel is exposed to a chemical irritant such as crude oil, certain genes respond, triggering mRNA to carry a message to the mussel’s cells. That message tells the cells how to deal with the irritant. Every irritant triggers a different pattern of genes. The scientists looked for the genetic and chemical response patterns unique to crude oil. Their analysis showed that both oil concentrations and gene response spiked then decreased with time, however the genetic response peaked at a later time.

This document is the executive summary for the full report.
View: Executive Summary: Mussel Oiling and Genetic Response to the April 2020 Valdez Marine Terminal Spill
Author: Lizabeth Bowen, William B. Driskell, James R. Payne, Austin Love, Eric Litman, Brenda Ballachey
Date: August 20, 2021
File size: 0.5 MB

2021 Prince William Sound Forage Fish Observations

This report by Dr. Scott Pegau of the Prince William Sound Science Center summarizes the results of the surveys for forage fish he conducted in Prince William Sound last summer. “Forage fish” are species that are preyed on by larger predators, and include Pacific herring, Pacific sand lance, capelin, and candlefish.

Dr. Pegau conducted the survey of the entire coastline of Prince William Sound via airplane in 2019 and 2020. Surveying from the air allows for identifying areas in water too shallow for a vessel. The primary objectives are to map and count schools of these fish in Prince William Sound to help protect these important species during a spill response. This work is expected to continue until 2022.
View: 2021 Prince William Sound Forage Fish Observations
Author: Scott Pegau
Date: September 21, 2021
File size: 3.3 MB

2021 Annual Drill Monitoring Report

This yearly report summarizes the drills and exercises that were attended, observed, and evaluated by Council staff and contractors in 2021. Highlights for 2021 include:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic again restricted observation of drills and exercises.

  • A towing was exercise conducted with a foreign-flagged tanker, which the Council has been requesting for years.

  • For the first time in Prince William Sound, a large-scale tabletop exercise was held almost entirely online.


These reports have great value in tracking the history of spill preparedness and response by Alyeska/SERVS and the associated shippers. They are instrumental in identifying operational issues and tracking the lessons learned during these events. These reports have proven to be valuable tools in addressing recurring problems, improving the prevention and response system, assisting contingency plan workgroups, and in planning large unannounced drills.
View: 2021 Annual Drill Monitoring Report
Author: Roy Robertson, PWSRCAC
Date: January 28, 2022
File size: 0.2 MB

A Review of the Appeal to 2020 Updates to 40 CFR 63, Subpart EEEE by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company

On October 7, 2020, Alyeska appealed certain parts of the EPA’s update to the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Organic Liquids Distribution (NESHAP-OLD). Alyeska claimed that the updated rule would require substantial changes at the terminal that will not result in any significant improvement in emissions.  

The Council hired experts at John Beath Environmental to conduct an independent review of Alyeska’s appeal. Their results supported Alyeska’s argument. The design of the existing vapor recovery system already controls vapors better than the alternatives required by the EPA’s rule.  
View: A Review of the Appeal to 2020 Updates to 40 CFR 63, Subpart EEEE by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
Author: John Beath Environmental, LLC
Date: January 13, 2022
File size: 11.3 MB

Comments on proposed regulatory revisions to 18 AAC 75, Article 4

Letter to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation with the Council's comments attached.
View: Comments on proposed regulatory revisions to 18 AAC 75, Article 4
Author: PWSRCAC
Date: January 28, 2022
File size: 1.6 MB

Concerns With ADEC Proposed Changes For Oil Spill Prevention And Response Regulations

Summary of the Council's concerns about ADEC's proposed changes to the oil spill regulations.
View: Concerns With ADEC Proposed Changes For Oil Spill Prevention And Response Regulations
Author: PWSRCAC
Date: January 11, 2022
File size: 0.1 MB

PWS Tanker Oil Spill Prevention & Contingency Plan, Compendium Of Event Summaries 1995-2020

This compendium documents the history of the oil spill prevention and response plan for the tankers that carry crude oil through Prince William Sound. The compendium includes summaries of all changes, amendments, and updates to the plan, beginning with the first major changes post-Exxon Valdez oil spill, through amendments made in 2020.

This compendium is an appendices for the report: PWS Tanker Oil Spill Prevention & Contingency Plan, Summary 1995-2020 The reader may find the associated graphic timeline helpful when navigating this document: PWS Tanker plan history
View: PWS Tanker Oil Spill Prevention & Contingency Plan, Compendium Of Event Summaries 1995-2020
Author: Nuka Research and Planning Group
Date: September 16, 2021
File size: 0.9 MB
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