Wednesday, 06 June 2018 20:19

Training simulation prepares for oil spills Featured

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GREENVILLE - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) conducted a mock oil spill on Moosehead Lake in Greenville on Wednesday.

 

It was all to get the region ready in case of the worst and make sure wildlife is protected.

 

 "It's an event we hope never happens here in Maine," said Don Katnick from the MDIFW, "but if it does we want to be prepared."

 

The day started with a presentation on how to handle caring for different species.

 

Then department workers used floating animal decoys and simulated what it would be like rescuing an animal covered in oil and bringing it back to shore to be rehabilitated. Real animals were not used.

 

During the training exercise, people nearby were warned that the activity on Moosehead Lake was just a drill.

 

 "We don't ever want to get in a situation where something happens and we're not sure what we're supposed to be doing," said Judy Camuso, also with the MDIFW, "so we like to have annual trainings."

 

Officials said Maine is a major eastern seaport for crude oil, so the potential for a spill is always present. The skills taught at the training could be used anywhere in the state.

 

 "It's like a fire drill right?" asked Michelle Knapp from Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research. "So you want to practice and then you get better."

 

Officials said just a few drops of oil on a bird's feathers can disrupt their waterproofing and lead to hypothermia and even death.

 

The training was made possible by an outside group that came up from Delaware, called Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research.

 

And Maine DEP was also there to simulate a hazmat response.

 

"We're all here for a common goal," said Knapp. "So as long as we're all on the same page, it's a great mission."

 

Kelly Mitchell

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Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now e...