Biological Data to Assess the Net Environmental Benefits and Costs of Dispersants and In Situ Burning in Oil Spill Response, 2011–2013

Lead: Ken Trudel, SL Ross

An important part of oil spill response planning is to develop tools to assist in assessing the risks from oil spills and the benefits of countermeasures (e.g., dispersants, in situ burning) used to fight them. This project is examining traditional knowledge to identify Inuvialuit environmental protection priorities in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. Traditional knowledge will be combined with scientific data to (i) describe Inuvialuit harvesting and other activities; (ii) describe the fish, bird, and marine mammal populations upon which these activities depend; and (iii) assess the vulnerability of all of these to effects of spills and countermeasures. Using realistic spill scenarios, this information will be used to illustrate the use of Net Environmental Benefit Analyses to assess the merits of dispersants and in situ burning in responding to oil spills in the Beaufort Sea.