We are writing to update you on the status of the 11 Geographic Response Plans (GRPs) currently open for updates in Washington. GRPs are planning documents for specific areas of the state at risk from oil spills. They contain contact information, site descriptions, resources at risk, and other response considerations. Each GRP includes pre-designed response strategies that guide early actions during an oil spill. These strategies are designed to minimize impacts to sensitive environmental, cultural, and economic resources. GRPs are part of the Northwest Area Contingency Plan and are co-managed by the EPA, the USCG, and the state.

In addition to the GRP updates described below, Ecology has spent the last year updating all GRPs that may be at risk from spills of non-floating oils (NFOs). This includes the addition of a Non-floating Oil Response Options and Considerations section. More information on the NFO update to GRPs can be found at our NFO Blog here: https://www.oilspills101.wa.gov/blog/

Below you will find a brief status update for the 11 open GRPs. For more information on a specific GRP, please contact the Preparedness Planner noted at the end of each overview. For general information on GRPs, please visit https://www.oilspills101.wa.gov/northwest-area-contingency-plan/geographic-response-plans-grps/

GRPs Open for Update

WRIA 7 (Snohomish Basin)

After meeting with tribes, trustee agencies, oil spill response contractors, and other stakeholders, fieldwork and data entry are complete. Ecology completed an internal review of proposed changes in December 2021. Additional consultation with stakeholders will occur in early 2022. Significant updates to this GRP include changing the name to the Snohomish Basin GRP (a more common term used to describe the planning area), an expansion of the planning area to include the Snoqualmie River, and the creation of new strategies to protect the recent restoration work in the Snohomish Estuary. Look for this GRP to be up for public comment period in spring 2022. It is our goal to finalize these updates and publish the new plan in the summer 2022. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Nora Haider at nora.haider@ecy.wa.gov.

South Puget Sound

Work on the South Puget Sound GRP continues. Initial land-based fieldwork has been conducted. Additional fieldwork and stakeholder consultation are needed. Keep an eye out for future updates in 2022. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Kaitlin Lebon at Kaitlin.lebon@ecy.wa.gov.

Lake Chelan

The Lake Chelan GRP opened for a full review in the summer of 2021. Initial fieldwork was conducted in July 2021, with additional fieldwork planned for spring and late summer 2022. A major goal of this update will be to assess strategies for both high and low water scenarios in Lake Chelan. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Kaitlin Lebon at Kaitlin.lebon@ecy.wa.gov.

Lake Washington

Planning for fieldwork is underway. Coordination with federal, tribal, state, and local partners continues.  For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Sabrina Floudaras at Sabrina.Floudaras@ecy.wa.gov.

Lower Columbia River

This GRP update began in 2020 with a meeting between Washington State ECY, Oregon DEQ and USCG Sector Columbia River. A kick-off message was sent to stakeholders shortly after this initial meeting. We began fieldwork in the Lower Columbia River GRP area in late 2020; this work is ongoing. Fieldwork will continue on the Washington side of the river into 2022. Any interested parties can contact Darcy Bird at darcy.bird@ecy.wa.gov for more information or to coordinate collaboration on this important project.

San Juan Islands

This GRP was created when the formerly combined San Juan Islands/North Puget Sound GRP was divided into two separate plans. The final version of the updated North Puget Sound plan was published separately in June 2021. A draft of the San Juan Islands GRP was posted for a public comment period in early 2021, and valuable feedback created an opportunity to make the plan even better. We are currently working on incorporating the feedback into the plan. The estimated publication date is summer 2022. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Max Gordon at max.gordon@ecy.wa.gov.

Clark Cowlitz Southwest Lewis

The last of the fieldwork was completed in June 2021. Ecology is now conducting an internal review of the proposed changes to the plan. Following our internal review of the draft update, the GRP will be posted for public comment. The estimated publication date is summer 2022. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Max Gordon at max.gordon@ecy.wa.gov.

Strait of Juan de Fuca

Fieldwork is nearly complete. We are currently working with local tribes and resource agencies to finalize fieldwork and gather additional information to update remaining strategies. A blog was posted recently with more details on this GRP update: https://www.oilspills101.wa.gov/strait-of-juan-de-fuca-grp-update-progress. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Wendy Buffett at Wendy.Buffett@ecy.wa.gov.

Snake River GRPs: Lower Monumental Pool, Little Goose Pool, Lower Granite Pool

Fieldwork for the three Snake River GRPs is complete and data entry is underway. Ecology is now conducting an internal review of the proposed changes to the plan. Following our internal panel review of the draft update, the GRP will be posted for public comment. For more information on these GRPs, please reach out to Scott Zimmerman at Scott.Zimmerman@ecy.wa.gov.

Grays Harbor

Work on this plan will begin in late 2022. There is no estimated timeline for publication of this plan at this time. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Scott Zimmerman at Scott.Zimmerman@ecy.wa.gov.

Outer Coast

Work on this plan will begin in late 2022. There is no estimated timeline for publication of this plan at this time. For more information on this GRP, please reach out to Max Gordon at max.gordon@ecy.wa.gov.

 

Thank you for your continued support and collaboration

The success of a GRP requires the active engagement of the spill response community in the development, maintenance, and review of these documents. With your help, we are dedicated to ensuring the accuracy and effectiveness of our state’s GRPs – protecting the region’s environmental, cultural, and economic resources in the event of a large oil spill.

We greatly appreciate all of our partners – tribes, trustees, the regulated community, oil spill response organizations, and citizens of the state – who help make this work happen.