case study

Oil spill response: BC coastal wetlands

Archipelago examined the unique challenges involved in providing an effective oil spill response within BC’s coastal and estuarine wetlands.


Although the risk of oil spills impacting British Columbia’s coastal marshes has been increasing (due in part to increased marine traffic), the assessment of oil spill impacts and treatment options for British Columbia’s coastal wetlands has largely been based upon knowledge of oil spills in wetlands outside of BC.

Wetland oiling in Skan Bay, Alaska prior to clean up (December 2004), and after oil removal (July 2005)

Wetland oiling in Skan Bay, Alaska prior to clean up (December 2004), and after oil removal (July 2005)

Upon identifying the need to improve oil spill response planning for BC coastal wetlands, Environment Canada invited Archipelago Marine Research to explore the matter further. Archipelago was asked to produce an assessment that could help support oil spill response planning, countermeasure planning, and restoration strategies for BC’s coastal wetlands regions. (For more on this, see the 2006 report “Oil Spill Response for BC Coastal Wetlands“) 

Key features:

  • Develop a summary of BC wetland types relevant to different spill response challenges
  • Review literature of oil spill impacts to coastal wetlands and assess applicability to BC
  • Propose a technique for assessing characteristics of BC salt marsh vegetation species that could be used to assess sensitivities of BC sites and used in spill response planning

more case studies >