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Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Montana

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A barge working on a breakwater in Woods Bay spilled an undetermined amount of oil and diesel fuel into Flathead Lake May 24. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes assisted in initial containment efforts. The tribal government has jurisdiction over the southern half of the lake. Stephen Stanley, Lake County emergency management coordinator, said the barge was the same one that sank near Angel Point earlier in May, also prompting an emergency response. Stanley said Tim Knopfle of Advanced Docks and Decks in Lakeside reported the spill to him shortly after 9 a.m., and worked diligently throughout the day to clean up the shoreline with absorbent materials supplied by the county and the tribes. In late afternoon, Flathead County personnel and Stanley deployed a hard vinyl sea curtain to seal off the immediate area so the oil and diesel fuel would be better contained. No wildlife appeared to be adversely affected by the spill. Stanley said he did not know yet how much petroleum pollutant leaked into the lake from the barge.

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