Seven of the 17 mallards that were cleaned after an oil spill near Sunnyside were returned to the wild Monday, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology.
The remaining 10 continue to recover at a temporary rehabilitation station in Pasco. They are expected to be healthy enough to be released later this week.
Work continues to clean 57 geese that also were contaminated with oil when a tank at a former feedlot leaked March 1. The leak spread through about 24 miles of waterways, including irrigation ditches, the Sulphur Creek Wasteway and the Yakima River as far downstream as Prosser.
As of Monday, 19 of the geese had been cleaned by Focus Wildlife. The contractor should have the remaining geese done by later this week, according to the Department of Ecology. Birds are given some time to recuperate between being captured and bathed.
Focus Wildlife and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have found adoptive homes for all the geese when they have recuperated enough to leave the rehabilitation station.
The geese are a domestic breed that had been released to roam in the wild before the spill. Officials prefer that they not compete for habitat with wildlife.