CROWN BEACH REOPENS
Finally! Here’s the update from the East Bay Regional Park District’s Mark Ragatz:
Matt Graul and I just returned from a beach inspection of the closed section of Crown Beach and we found very few tar balls over the 1.5 mile length of the beach from Grand to Westline. We were accompanied on the inspection by representatives from Fish & Game OSPR, the US Coast Guard, and the RP. We found that the areas where there had been tar balls last week that were both significant in number and size, are much cleaner and the risk to beachgoers of getting oil on their feet has decreased significantly. In addition, the ponds left at low tide no longer show any significant sheen.
The cleanup crews that visited the park on Friday and Saturday, after the storm event, found over 9 lbs. of sand covered tar balls. The same crews found over 25 lbs the previous weekend, and this morning we found less than ½ lb. in the 1.5 mile stretch of beach. The cleanup crews will continue to clean the beach as it is now in a Monitoring and Maintenance phase. Crews will be at the park Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then again on Saturday. We will meet again with the SCAT and UC representatives next Monday to discuss the continuing cleanup.
Park crews will replace the Beach Closure signs with the Tar Ball Informational signs and will remove the yellow caution tape this afternoon.
Oh, and a fishing and shellfish gathering ban remains in effect for the shoreline from Alameda Point to the southern tip of Oakland International Airport.
The beach has been closed since October 30 following an oil spill that dumped 422 gallons of fuel oil on the deck of the Dubai Star tanker vessel and into San Francisco Bay. State investigators believe the spill, which fouled miles of Alameda shoreline and killed dozens of local birds and has so far cost $7.2 million to clean up, was caused when one of the ship’s gas tanks overflowed.
The northern portion of Crown Beach in Crab Cove reopened on November 14, but the southern stretch remained closed as tar ball continued to wash ashore.