M/T Athos I
“In the Darby Creek Restoration Project the removal of three dams opened more than 2.7 miles of habitat for a range of resident and migratory fish. Shad and river herring species once supported the largest and most important commercial and recreational fisheries on the Atlantic Coast. This restoration benefits fish, wildlife, anglers, and others who value robust natural habitats.”
NOAA Environmental Engineer
M/T Athos I
Oil Spill | Delaware River, New Jersey | November 2004
On November 26, 2004, the M/T Athos I hit several submerged objects in the Delaware River while preparing to dock at a refinery in Paulsboro, New Jersey. A nine-ton anchor punctured the vessel’s bottom, releasing nearly 265,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware River and nearby tributaries.
What Were the Impacts?
Oil from the ruptured tanker spread 115 miles downriver, impacting 280 miles of shoreline in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. NOAA worked with other Government officials acting on behalf of the public when there is injury to, destruction of, loss of, or threat to natural resources. to assess the impacts of the spill. We identified injuries to shoreline habitats, birds, and benthic habitat. Recreational uses were affected as well, with negative effects on boating, fishing, and hunting. The incident also forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close the Delaware River to commercial traffic for more than a week.
What’s Happening Now?
In November 2019, NOAA and natural resource Trustees in the M/T Athos I oil spill case proposed an amendment to the 2009 restoration plan. The draft amendment (PDF, 12 pages) calls for replacing one recreational project, a boat ramp, with another boat ramp project at a different location that would help achieve more substantial recreational access to the Delaware River.
The Trustees released the draft amended restoration plan for public comment until December 27, 2019. Public comments should be submitted:
Via email to: Mary Andrews, firstname.lastname@example.org
Via mail to: Mary Andrews, NOAA Restoration Center, 200 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Suite 460, Annapolis, MD 21401
In 2010, the trustees received $27.5 million for ten restoration projects listed in the 2009 final restoration plan (PDF, 263 pages), designed to benefit the environment, coastal communities, and economy in the Delaware River watershed. Details on each project can be found in the Restoration Plan.
Freshwater tidal wetlands restoration at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (Pennsylvania)
Create oyster reefs (New Jersey, Delaware)
Darby Creek dam removal and habitat restoration (Pennsylvania)
Habitat restoration at Mad Horse Creek (New Jersey)
Shoreline restoration at Lardner’s Point (Pennsylvania)
Blackbird Reserve Wildlife Area Pond and Pasture Enhancement (Delaware)
Improve recreational opportunities (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware)