Fuel leak near Willard Bay displaces beavers

By Cristina Rendon

Published 03/19 2013 10:29PM

Updated 03/20 2013 06:10PM

WILLARD BAY, (ABC 4 News) - The clean up continued Tuesday night of a Chevron diesel fuel leak that contaminated wetlands near Willard Bay and displaced two beavers who were covered in fuel.

The beavers were taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. Director Dalyn Erickson-Marthaler and her husband Buz have been caring for the beavers since Tuesday morning. They are giving the animals food and medicine.

"They're going through a lot of shock," she said. "They're very stressed. Everything we are doing is completely alien to them."

The dam the animals built prevented fuel from spreading into Willard Bay.

Chevron officials said the leak was reported Monday night and was immediately shut off, but would not say how many gallons had spilled. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation said the area contaminated covered about two to three acres of wetlands.

Park Ranger Jason Morgan said the leak was contained between the Eagle Beach and Cottonwood campgrounds at Willard Bay.

The North Marina of Willard Bay was shut down Monday night as emergency response crews used containment booms, absorbent pads and vacuum trucks to soak up fuel. Park officials said they plan to open the South Marina to the public on Wednesday.

Chevron's last leak was in 2010 when over 33,000 gallons of crude oil stained the Red Butte Creek near the University of Utah.

A spokesman said the cause of leak near Willard Bay was still under investigation. According to Chevron, the diesel fuel pipe was installed in 1950. The 8 inch pipe runs North into Idaho.

Even though the dam prevented fuel from leaking into the reservoir, park officials said the dam would be torn down.

The Marthalers are hoping the animals will recover in the coming weeks so the beavers can get busy building another home.

"We'll know in the next following days how they're going to progress but the goal is to release them back in the wild," Marthaler added.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah is a non-profit organization that treats and cares for all types of animals.

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