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Crews At Gulf Islands National Seashore Continue To Take Precautions Against Oil


This NOAA map shows the approximate location of the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

While some barrier islands along the Louisiana coastline were being coated with an oily slick Sunday from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the barrier islands and mainland shores of Gulf Islands National Seashore still were oil-free, according to the National Park Service.

Park Service spokeswoman Jean Schaeppi said that as of Sunday morning no oil had come ashore and there were no public closures on the national seashore. Some work was continuing to install mechanical booms around some of the seashore's islands with hopes they would keep the beaches free of oil, if it approached them, she said.

According to federal officials, the blowout of the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon was spewing an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, though maps showed the oil still a fair distance away from the national seashore.

For comparison's sake, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that, "(T)he largest oil spill in North America occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. The 200-foot-deep exploratory well, Ixtoc I, blew out on June 3, 1979, in the Bay of Campeche, Mexico, releasing 10,000 - 30, 000 barrels (0.4 - 1.2 million gallons) per day for nine months. Nearly 500 dispersant air sorties were flown in Mexico. Manual cleanup in Texas was aided by storms. Though the blowout preventer (BOP, valve designed to seal off a wellhead) failed, injection of metal and concrete balls into the well slowed the release. By the time the well was brought under control in March 1980 by drilling two relief wells to relieve pressure, an estimated 113 million to over 300 million gallons of oil had spilled (10 times the amount of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez). Oil traveled 800 miles to the north, oiling more than 150 miles of shoreline in Texas and unknown miles of shoreline in Mexico."

National Weather Service forecasts for the Gulf Coast are calling for southeast winds through the weekend that are expected to push surface oil towards shore and hamper surface recovery efforts until a forecast shift on Monday.

Meanwhile, the National Marine Fisheries Service was conducting aerial surveys to develop baseline data of marine life in the region. And NOAA's Assessment and Restoration Division was coordinating seven resource assessment workgroups (birds, mammals and turtles, fish, shoreline habitats, water column injury, data management, and human use) with natural resource trustees from five states and representatives for BP.


I really do not get this. I understand that they are doing everything that they can do, but were talking about possibly now the whole gulf of mexico. I go to Destin every year and now..may not be able to. It's not all about me but what about the animals in all of this? I understand that there are people but animals are helpless and it could be technically "the dead sea" in way. If there was some type of fund I could set up or something I could do I would be right on it.

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I live in Pensacola and as a surfer and kayaker I spend a lot of time at the beach and in the water. They say the oil will start coming ashore here on Tuesday or Wednesday. Local and national resources are being deployed to try and minimize the effects of this potential disaster. The main thing now is to keep the oil out of the bays and estuaries. Unfortunately this time of year we already have sea birds on the nest at Santa Rosa Island and we are beginning to enter the sea turtle nesting season. Many volunteers are prepared to begin animal rescue and beach cleanup operations but right now no one knows how long this well will keep pouring oil into the Gulf. Main thing is to protect the fragile estuaries and bays and stop the leak at the wellhead.

As a resident of Pensacola, FL, and National Park traveler, Gulf Islands National Seashore has been from one catastrophic event to the next. Throughout it all the park staff has maintained the highest level of professionalism and perserverance. The unthinkable has happened and this "black tide" could easily follow the gulf currents to south Florida and get kicked back up by the east coast of the U.S. by the Gulf Stream. Words simply cannot describe the inevitable. News tonight, "Sea Turtles Washing in Dead."

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