Environment, News, OREGON

Birds found on the Oregon Coast coated in ‘tar-like substance’

A group of state and federal agencies are responding to reports of an unknown tar-like substance washing up along Oregon’s North Coast, extending southward to areas as far as the Salishan Spit, and also along Washington’s southern coast.

Multiple birds have found coated in the substance, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said in a press release. The agencies were first notified Wednesday of “pieces of tar in patties about the size of a sand dollar on Wednesday at Cannon Beach,” DEQ said.

“We strongly advise the public not to handle any tar or oily product found or attempt to assist affected wildlife along the shore – this is dangerous for you and for the wildlife,” the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife said. “If you find oiled or dead wildlife, please call 1-800-22-BIRDS.”

Agencies from Oregon Washington, and the federal government are forming a unified command group to tackle the incident and identify the substance, which remains unknown.

Photo courtesy ODF&W

So far, agencies involved in the effort include the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The tar-like substance has been found in several places along the Oregon coast including Cannon Beach, Silver Point, Lincoln City, and Salishan Spit,” ODF&W said.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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