Three decades later, Exxon Valdez impacts remain

The Exxon Valdez oil spill, which occurred 30 years ago off the coast of Alaska, has had lasting negative effects on some wildlife. ©ARLIS Reference

Pollution remains embedded deep in the Alaskan coastal ecosystem of Prince William Sound some 30 years after the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground on a reef and emptied 10.8 million gallons of oil into the sea. While 19 of the 24 species listed as impacted by the March 24, 1989 spill are considered recovered or likely recovered, notable animals like the AT1 pod of orcas (Orcinus orca) hover near extinction. Meanwhile, oil washed onto shore and permanently decimated pigeon guillemots (Cepphus Columba) on nearby islands. Marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) and herring were also impacted by the spill and have not recovered, though other factors may be at play for those species. 

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