Saskatchewan Oil Spill Is Affecting An Endangered Species

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MELFORT, Sask. — A First Nation in northern Saskatchewan says oil from the Husky Energy pipeline leak has shown up in the spawning grounds of an endangered species.

Officials from James Smith Cree Nation say an oil plume and foam was discovered in the Saskatchewan River where lake sturgeon spawn.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada says the fish are an endangered species.

Chief Wally Burns says the First Nation, about 60 kilometres east of Prince Albert, ordered residents to not swim, hunt, fish or gather along the Saskatchewan River after the contaminant showed up Aug. 21.

oil spill birds
Volunteers clean bird impacted by the oil spill in July. (Photo: Lend A Paw Animal Rescue/Facebook)

Water samples taken by Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency on Aug. 18 found the foam contained at least one component of petroleum exceeding sediment quality guidelines.

It took more tests on Friday, after the most of the plume appeared on the First Nation, and are waiting for the results that can determine if the material is from the Husky spill.

Husky's pipeline leaked last month near Maidstone, Sask. into the North Saskatchewan River.

The pipeline was carrying heavy oil mixed with a lighter petroleum product that enables the crude to flow.

saskatchewan oil spill
Crews work to clean up an oil spill on the North Saskatchewan river near Maidstone, Sask. on July 22, 2016. (Photo: Jason Franson/CP)

The North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan rivers meet just west of the First Nation and become the Saskatchewan River.

The province said last week that almost 75 per cent of the estimated 225,000 litres of petroleum that spilled has been recovered.

The Cree First Nations says it has taken its own water and soil samples for testing for hydrocarbons and point of origin.

(CKBI, The Canadian Press)

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