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Deer, mallards, geese stained by oil from Superior refinery explosion

An oil spill response team has been working with the refinery.

Some wildlife around the Husky Oil Refinery have been exposed to oily substances as a result of the explosion that rocked Superior, Wisconsin on April 26. 

Wisconsin Public Radio reported May 7 that one bird was found dead and a deer was being treated for oil-stained legs, and since then geese and ducks have received treatment from oil-related problems. 

Earlier this week, Sean Haasnoot of Superior found geese covered in an oily substance near Superior Bay, which is about two miles northeast of the refinery. 

"Yeah we caught one with a blanket and had put him in a box until the people showed up and they got the other two," Haasnoot wrote on Facebook. 

The people Haasnoot referred to are oil spill response experts from Focus Wildlife, whom Husky called upon to help protect wildlife after the explosion. 

"Unfortunately, some birds have ventured into an impacted area that has some oiling," Husky spokesperson Mel Duvall said in an email to BMTN. "We have undertaken a variety of measures to deter birds, and will implement more as necessary."

In addition to the geese found by Haasnoot, Focus Wildlife has treated one deer, two other geese and two mallards. The two mallards and one Canada goose were scheduled for release into the Douglas County Wildlife Area on Friday. 

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Husky has also installed an eight-foot-high fence around an area that has some oiling to keep deer and other wildlife from getting in. 

"We have also erected fencing to keep amphibians, such as frogs, out of impacted areas," said Duvall. "In order to deter birds, we have implemented streamers and flagging, we have two dog teams on site and we are in the process of implementing a laser light deterrent."

Duvall says the lasers move in a patter that mimics animal movement, which he says deters birds and is "particularly effective at night."

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