Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey will receive $27.5 million to restore the Delaware River
following 2004’s oil spill from the Athos I tanker. The tanker hit three submerged objects, including a large anchor while trying to dock in Paulsboro, New Jersey on November 26, 2004. The ship’s hull was punctured resulting in nearly 250,000 gallons of crude oil to spill into the Delaware River. The spill affected more than 280 miles of shoreline in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Colin O’Mara says, “This settlement will help improve the enviornmental quality of the Delaware River and Bay/Estuary and enhance public enjoyment of this wonderful national resources.” Delaware will use it’s $1.2 million share of the settlement on several projects to restore resources that were affected by the spill.
One of those projects is the enhancement of the state’s Blackbird Reserve Wildlife Management Area in southern New Castle County. That project is designed to partially compensate for the nearly 6,000 geese and swans that were lost during the spill. The project will create 2.2 ares of ponds, 16 acres of pasture and 23.6 acres of food plots.
The state will also use the Athos I money to rebuild the 7th Street Park boat ramp on the Christina River which was partially destroyed by strong tidal currents.
The final project funded in Delaware through the settlement will be 26 acres of new oyster reef at the existing “Over the Bar” oyster bay in the Delaware Bay. Harvesting at the new reef will be prohibited for five years to allow for the oyster population that was lost during the oil spill to be restored.