gulf oil spill
From NPR.org today:
At the Gulf State Park Pier on the Alabama coast, ranger William Key notices that the waves crashing ashore are brownish, not their usual emerald green hue.
Key says the storm that came through the Gulf of Mexico last week churned up the water, and what was lurking below the surface was "a lot of silt, mud and oil. There's no two ways about it."
Key says people have wondered what would happen if a hurricane strikes while there's still oil in the Gulf.
"Well, we saw what happens just a couple of days ago, and that wasn't even a hurricane," he says. "We got high winds, high surf and it stirred up the oil that was on the bottom."
Here’s your expedition update for today, from Oceana’s senior campaign communications manager Dustin Cranor:
The Oceana Latitude sailed all night and day to reach our next destination, Tampa.
The long commute allowed the crew to review and prepare photos and video from the dive operation off the coast of Key West. Although the conditions were not ideal, our specialized divers were able to capture some beautiful underwater landscapes. And while in commute, we were entertained by yet another dolphin sighting. This time, we have it on video for you.
From CNN.com on Monday:
"We can see the beaches; we can see the dead animals; we can get a count on turtles and whales and all this stuff -- and all of that is eye-level observation," said [Ed] Overton, a professor emeritus at Louisiana State University and a veteran of oil-spill science.
"What we don't know is what damage is done ... to little creatures down below the surface -- or just at the surface -- that we never see."
Here’s your expedition update for today, from senior campaigns communications manager, Dustin Cranor:
The Oceana Latitude is now anchored off the coast of Key West for the first leg of its two-month expedition.
On our long voyage from Fort Lauderdale, we spotted a lot of sargassum floating on the surface of the water. It’s sad to imagine that this floating seaweed is at risk in the Gulf of Mexico because it provides essential habitat for marine animals in the open ocean.
We also had our first interaction with something other than flying fish. As we made our way into shallow waters, dolphins begin surrounding the bow of the ship. They continued entertaining the crew by swimming and eating small fish around the boat for hours.
Oceana also took part in the first activity of the expedition, catching and examining small fish. After allowing the fish traps to soak in the water, Oceana marine scientist Margot Stiles quickly identified several small critters, including baby lobsters, shrimp, crabs and squid.
On migratory birds from Tuesday's Chicago Tribune:
"We're pretty worried about the fate of waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds" that have long wintered in the Gulf's protected marshes, said Tim Yager, manager of the McGregor District of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
Yager said there are two concerns -- that remnant oil from the recently capped BP oil spill will coat the birds' feathers or that they will eat fish and other aquatic animals contaminated by oil.
I’m happy to report that the Oceana Latitude officially set sail yesterday evening for the Gulf of Mexico out of Fort Lauderdale!
The first stop will be Key West, where the Oceana crew will work with the ROV and specialized divers to document bottom habitat and other marine life that could be in danger if oil is captured by sea currents and transported towards southern Florida or if another oil spill occurs in this area in the future.
Here’s Oceana chief scientist Mike Hirshfield:
Nancy Rome is a documentarian and writer based in Baltimore. She sent us this thoughtful guest post.
The question on everyone's mind right now and for the foreseeable future is: Where has the oil gone?
Much of the scientific community scoffs at the White House’s claim last week that 75% of the oil has been cleaned up, even going so far as to call the claim ludicrous, because tracking the spill is so difficult.
To say how much has really been cleaned up is nearly impossible, and oil continues to wash up "under" beaches and marshes on barrier islands and will continue to do so for some time.
If we still do not know exactly how much oil actually gushed from the Deepwater Horizon, then how can we know the exact amount that has been cleaned up?
We found some incredible images of the oil spill on Flickr, and the noted gulf coast photographer, Matthew White, was kind enough to let us post some of the most arresting ones here for you.
For more information about Matthew White, check out his website at www.matthewwhitestudio.com.
From today's Washington Post:
The government said last week that three-quarters of the spilled oil has been removed or naturally dissipated from the water. But the crab larvae discovery was an ominous sign that crude had already infiltrated the Gulf's vast food web - and could affect it for years to come.
"It would suggest the oil has reached a position where it can start moving up the food chain instead of just hanging in the water," said Bob Thomas, a biologist at Loyola University in New Orleans. "Something likely will eat those oiled larvae ... and then that animal will be eaten by something bigger and so on."
Tiny creatures might take in such low amounts of oil that they could survive, Thomas said. But those at the top of the chain, such as dolphins and tuna, could get fatal "megadoses."
From NPR.com today:
"It's actually round two of psychological trauma for these communities, who also in the back of their minds are already worried about hurricanes this season," said [president of the Children’s Health Fund, Dr. Irwin] Redlener, who plans to bring doctors to the Gulf in the next few weeks to provide physical and mental care for the children who are suffering nightmares or other stress, or who have rashes, breathing problems or other physical effects from the spill.