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April 19, 2007

Contact: Ben Sherman, NOAA
(301) 713-3066, ext. 191

Glenda Powell, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
(301) 713-4246 ext. 129

NOAA Joins Lummi Tribe, City of Bellingham for Earth Day Event Marking Whatcom Creek Falls Park Restoration Project

Representatives from NOAA’s National Ocean Service will join officials from the Lummi Tribe and the City of Bellingham, Wash., to memorialize the lives lost to a pipeline explosion at Whatcom Creek Falls Park, and to highlight assessment and restoration activities at the park by NOAA and partners.

In 1999, a gasoline pipeline ruptured and discharged approximately 236,000 gallons of gasoline into Hanna Creek and, subsequently, into Whatcom Creek. As the gasoline was carried down the creek, the fumes were ignited, causing three deaths and affecting a variety of natural resources along the creek's path.

Officials from the Lummi tribe will unveil a memorial pole and benches in honor of the lives lost due to the ruptured pipeline. The event will also include recognition of NOAA’s contributions to restoration activities at the park, which include the replanting of 40,000 trees, restoring stream bed to improve gravel for spawning habitat (salmon); building two salmon wetland projects, and creating jogging and bicycle paths.

What: Unveiling of Memorial Pole and Benches            

When: Sunday, April 22, 2007
10:00 a.m., PDT

Where: Whatcom Creek Falls Park
The intersection of Whatcom Creek and Racine Street

Who: John H. Dunnigan, assistant administrator, NOAA’s National Ocean Service
Representatives from Lummi Tribe
Tim Douglas, mayor, City of Bellingham, Wash.

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