Oil Spill and Its Potential Impacts on Wildlife - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Oil Spill and Its Potential Impacts on Wildlife

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The Yellowstone River is known to host a rich eco-system and experts say an oil spill can most certainly destroy parts of it.

During a spill, the oil spreads over top of the water and quickly coats everything in its path. Wildlife managers say fish are at high risk as large amounts of oil can cause severe damage covering their scales.

"Overtime some other impacts on fish would be oil clogging their gills and the covering of their scales on the outside," said Director of Conservation for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Scott Christensen.

Along with clogged gills, experts say fish can also be endangered by eating insects that are contaminated. Conservationists with the Great Yellowstone Coalition worry that clean-up of the spill near Glendive will be slowed down by the ice on the river and say this also poses a high-risk for the wildlife above the waterline.

Christensen said, "It tends to contaminate ducks and other birds coming down to the water it gets on animals we tend to associate with rivers like otters and mink."

Christensen also pointed out this spill is the second in the past few years and says he hopes the unfortunate incident in Glendive raises awareness.

"It is a huge point of pride for Montanans and i would hope this would start more of a robust conversation about what we can do to protect our rivers from this in the future,” said Christensen.


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