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Pelican News is gathered from around the world from online newspapers, magazines and plain old word of mouth. There's an emphasis on those pelicans in the western US, the California Brown Pelican and the American White Pelican. The purpose is to inform and educate. There are also occasional news of other endangered bird species and threats to seabirds, especially, but also to other birds, worldwide: see: pelicanlife's wildlife news page. The hope is to draw support for the Santa Barbara pelicans, by appreciating pelicans, other vulnerable birds and awareness of the threats to their — and our — ecosystem.



This page is a compilation of news stories accumulated through Google Alerts of the British Petroleum so far unrestrained gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. It focuses on the Gulf environment, especially the Louisiana State Bird, the Brown Pelican with updates on pelicans and other seabirds/marine life affected by this disaster.

Barack Obama, 3/31/2010, on drilling in the Gulf: YouTube - support this ad!

Tracking the spilling oil: http://nyti.ms/anMcRY and bracing for impact, http://tinyurl.com/2audddf ; Where oil has make landfall: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/27/us/20100527-oil-landfall.html ; also: http://firedoglake.com/bp-oil-disaster; Relative sizes of "spills," graphic, June 8.

Pictures: Detroit Free Press gallery, May 1. 5/12: Video of the gushing oil/gas: http://tinyurl.com/2cbt8lt ; to follow via the New Orleans Times Picayune: http://www.nola.com/t-p/ and, specifically, the Gulf oil "spill": http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/

5/27 — ABC News video Under the Water, with Phillippe Cousteau: http://tinyurl.com/3xa88m

6/11 — Visualizing the oil disaster: map

To help: The IBRRC has been inundated with questions about how people can help. While those responsible for this spill are supposed to be covering the cost of the Gulf clean-up, you can support the ongoing work of the non-profit organizations currently on the ground preparing to respond to oiled wildlife. You can support International Bird Rescue's ongoing rescue work by donating, becoming a member or adopting a bird, all available online here. UPDATE: apparently IBRRC has pulled out of the main rescue/cleanup station: link It's concentration remains on washing birds.

Please also consider donating to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research with whom IBRRC is partnering in this ongoing effort on the Gulf Coast. (Tri-State this winter undertook the very expensive rescue operation of frost-bitten pelicans noted below in the Pelican News section on Maryland pelicans; IBRRC also has had the heavy costs of this past winter's California Brown Pelican problems.)

For the most comprehensive coverage of this ecological disaster that affects man and beast and bird, watch Anderson Cooper on CNN: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/

Daily Dead Wildife Tally, BP oil disaster, not counting the fish and all they feed on

2010: June 16 ->

2010: June 1 ->15

2010: April 20->May 31

This is what is happening to the wildlife — Barataria Bay, Louisiana

IBRRC: Bird Care in Numbers (link)

LATimes Gallery of photos, June 5

"The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico finally has a face.

June 17, AC360° — Cleaning Birds from the Gulf (video)

Or, rather, faces — at once primordially familiar and yet utterly strange under their new bronze patinas. As close-up photographs begin to appear that document the insult and injury done to coastal wildlife by the Deepwater Horizon leak, public pressure on the Obama administration and BP to stop the leak — stoked by an emotional response to such troubling images — will surely grow.

These are the faces that government officials and oil executives may see in their nightmares. ..." http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/04/assignment-35/?hp

AP photo of oiled pelican

OILED: A pelican is mired in oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast.— Charlie Riedel, Associated Press photo

1000's have offered to volunteer, including this web site owner, but how many have been accepted?

A young pelican sits on its nest as its mother stands by. Oil has reached the shore of islands near Grand Isle, La., where thousands of birds nest. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times / May 24, 2010) — June 5, LAT photo gallery

NASA Satellite Images Show BP Oil Spill Spreading in Gulf of Mexico (6/15 update)

June 15, 2010 12:28 PM EDT (Updated: June 15, 2010 12:31 PM EDT)

The latest series of images from NASA's Earth Observatory website show that the oil slick from the BP oil spill continue to spread throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and broader swathes of oil are now visible in areas in which there was only hints of oil presence in prior weeks. :::snip:::


Little-known pancake batfish could be one of oil spill's early victims
By Kelly Lynch, CNN

(CNN) -- The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has already claimed many victims -- from pelicans to oyster beds and precious marshland. But there may be one more: a species only just recently discovered. :::snip:::


* Louisiana pancake batfish lives 1,500 feet below surface
* For deep-water denizens like pancake batfish, threat is from underwater oil plumes
* One expert estimates that 98 percent of Gulf's deep-water marine life remains unknown
* Scientists worry that extinction could come even before species are discovered



Ad for a Dish Detergent Becomes Part of a Story

Published: June 15, 2010 — In mid-April, the makers of Dawn liquid dish detergent started running TV commercials that played up its reputation as the soap of choice among nonprofit groups that clean birds and marine mammals harmed by oil spills.

Dawn Commercial (YouTube.com)

Procter & Gamble, the maker of Dawn, ran commercials mainly in April, before Earth Day, about cleaning birds after spills.

The advertisement, with blackened baby otters and ducklings emerging cleansed by a Dawn bubble bath, had run intermittently since last summer. More of the ads were being played as Earth Day neared, on April 22.

:::snip::: While other dish detergents were good, Dawn had the right ratio of “surfactants” — cleaners that cut oil — to be effective yet not irritate the birds and other animals like otters and seals.

Organizers also liked that it was readily available at any store and that it did not hurt animals’ ability to whisk away water.

Procter & Gamble refused requests by the research center to donate its product until 1989. In recent years, Dawn has started raising money for the center and also the Marine Mammal Center. In its current campaign, the company is raising money from sales of the product, and is on track for $500,000 by the end of the month, Ms. Baba said. :::snip:::

The birds emerge from the baths still subdued, but looking a lot more like themselves. After they are blow-dried they sit in outdoor cages, waiting to fully recover and be sent to gulf beaches not yet covered in oil.

Yet even Jay Holcomb, the executive director of the bird rescue research center, acknowledged that it was unclear what happens after that.

“It is like a Band-Aid to a gunshot wound to the heart,” said Mr. Holcomb, who says it is impossible to estimate how many of the birds will survive when returned to the wild.


See also: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2010/06/16/ST2010061602998.html

Panel Sharply Raises Estimate of Oil Spilling Into the Gulf

Published: June 15, 2010 — A government panel raised its estimate of the flow rate from BP’s damaged well yet again on Tuesday, declaring that as much as 60,000 barrels a day could be gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

The spill was already categorized as the largest in the nation’s history, and the new figures sharply increase previous estimates, suggesting a flow equal to an Exxon Valdez — every four days. :::snip:::


Nungesser says BP workers broke eggs, crushed chicks in cleanup

Photos courtesy Plaquemines Parish government
by WWLTV.com

Posted on June 15, 2010 at 3:29 PM » — PLAQUEMINES, La. -- A Plaquemines Parish cleanup crew discovered broken eggs and crushed chicks on Queen Bess Island on Tuesday, and parish leaders are blaming BP workers cleaning up the oil spill for the damage.
Click here to see photos

“The people BP sent out to clean up oil trampled the nesting grounds of Brown Pelicans and other birds," said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

A parish spokesman said plastic bags containing snare boom found by the Plaquemines Parish Inland Waterways Strike Force were "recklessly placed without consideration for the natural wildlife on the island."

"Pelicans just came off the endangered species list in November of last year. They already have the oil affecting their population during their reproduction time, now we have the so called clean up crews stomping eggs," Nungesser said.

Nungesser called for a more pro-active approach for rescuing wildlife affected by the oil. He wants the Humane Society to come up with a better way to enlist the help of volunteers, saying dozens should be brought in from across the country to help save the wildlife.

"The lack of urgency and general disregard for Louisiana’s wetlands and wildlife is enough to make you sick," Nungesser said.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Wayne Pacelle of the U.S. Humane Society joined Nungesser on the trip.

also: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/16/louisiana-cleanup-crews-trampled-pelican-nests-official-says/

Brown pelican long a symbol of survival
By Wayne Drash, CNN

June 15, 2010 11:51 a.m. EDT — (CNN) -- Long before the brown pelican came to symbolize the tragedy of the Gulf oil spill, the giant bird stood for something much greater: survival against all odds. ...

"At a time when so many species of wildlife are threatened, we once in a while have an opportunity to celebrate an amazing success story," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar declared on November 11. "Today is such a day. The brown pelican is back."

Now, eight months later, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal stands on the deck of a boat near Pelican Island off the Louisiana coast. He's surveying efforts to protect the state's wetlands. He's ordered the National Guard to begin building barriers in the ocean to try to stop the oil from reaching shore.
Yet Jindal pauses to talk about the brown pelican. ...

"Here's what's really sad," Jindal said. "For every one of those mother adult pelicans you're saving, there are many more back there that you can't get to. And for every mother pelican you're saving, there may be a nest, there may be eggs that can't be saved.

"And that's the tragedy in this: That for every animal we see, what's this oil doing to their young? What's this oil doing to their life cycles?" :::snip:::



Few opportunities for oil spill volunteers by Katie Moore / Eyewitness News

Posted on June 15, 2010 at 5:45 PM — NEW ORLEANS -- People across the country are trying to lend a hand with the cleanup of the oil spill.
But many are left feeling helpless because according to volunteer coordinators, there's not much hands-on work available because BP is coordinating paid workers for the clean up.
It has locals doing just about anything they can think of to help out.
“It's heartbreaking. You know, it starts to bring you to tears,” said t-shirt shop co-owner Anne Warren.
She said she didn’t know what else to do.
“When all of this began I think we, like a lot of people, just felt kind of helpless and wanted to help,” she said.
So, her Oak Street shop, Skip and Whistle, is doing what they do best, making T-shirts. :::snip:::


Trip along oiled coast shows effects of oil spill on wildlife by Bigad Shaban / Eyewitness News -- wwltv.com

Posted on June 14, 2010 at 10:06 PM — NEW ORLEANS -- Oily marshes now dying in the water and new oil streaks are flowing in the Gulf, but a Coast Guard official says it is our cameras that could hurt the wildlife.
Louisiana waters tainted, wildlife trapped.
“It's a developing tragedy unfortunately,” said Sen. David Vitter.

With the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries charting the way, we joined Vitter, R-La., and the president of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Parcelle, for a boat tour of Queen Bess Island.
"I couldn't help but sense a feeling of impending doom for these animals,” Pacelle said. :::snip:::
Soon we take to the ground once again and make our way to the Ft. Jackson Wildlife Rehab Center in Buras, but before we can get past the gate, we're stopped.
A representative from the Coast Guard came out here and said we weren't allowed in, because he was worried my photographer and I were someone going to disturb the wildlife.
Vitter argues to let us in, saying the director of the center granted us access.
The conversation moves away from our cameras and we are not allowed through. :::snip:::



NPR — Should Oiled Birds Be Cleaned?
by Nell Greenfieldboyce

June 14, 2010 — Brian Sharp, an ornithologist who has a private consulting firm in Oregon, says that on the news lately, he has heard wildlife experts in Louisiana talk about their efforts to clean up wild birds that have gotten covered in oil.
"And they're saying, 'Yes, we can save these birds,' and, 'Yeah, we can take care of them,' " Sharp says.
But he seriously doubts it. :::snip:::

Workers who clean oiled birds also want to see more research on how the animals do once they are released.
Mark Russell, a project manager with the International Bird Rescue Research Center, says that the Gulf spill seems like "a golden opportunity to find more information out."
But Russell says that in the absence of clear answers, the birds' suffering still demands action.
"Until we know, we have a moral obligation to stay the course and care for these animals," he says, "and we owe it to each individual animal."
Sometimes, Russell says, euthanasia may be the right choice if it looks like there's no chance a bird could return to the wild. But if recovery seems possible, he thinks a bird should get that chance.

sidebar:: Birds Affected By The Spill
Michael Seymour, an ornithologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, talks from Grand Isle beach in Louisiana about some of the bird species affected by the BP oil spill. "Literally every day, we're checking every colony out here to see what the progress of the oil is," he says. Seymour hopes that habitat damage won't be permanent, but says it's difficult to judge how long the effects will linger.
Brown pelicans: Only last year did the brown pelican come off the endangered species list, and now it faces trouble once again. "The majority of the birds that we're seeing that are oil-impacted are brown pelicans," Seymour says. Brown pelicans, which are the state bird of Louisiana, fly over the water looking for prey and plunge headfirst to catch fish. Both diving for fish and swimming through oily waters can cause problems for these birds, says Seymour.
Laughing gulls: Laughing gulls during mating season have a striking red bill and a black head with eyes rimmed in white, according to the National Audubon Society. But all you see of this laughing gull is a layer of black oily muck. Laughing gulls tend to hunt by picking up things off the surface of the water, which is where they can run into problems, Seymour says.
Egrets and herons: These birds feed along the shorelines, beaches and tidal areas. Some herons and egrets are exposed to oil as they wade and hunt food. It sticks to their bellies, legs, chest -- even their neck and head -- as they dunk their faces into the water to grab fish or small crustaceans. Seymour says he's particularly worried about reddish egrets. "Their numbers are declining, and we don't have a whole lot of colonies of them left in the state," he says. "And certainly our colonies aren't very big that we do have."
--Whitney Blair Wyckoff

Listen to the Story Morning Edition [4 min 13 sec]: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127749940


Oliver Bouler drwing

Fifth-grader raises $70K to help birds in Gulf oil spill
This is a brown pelican drawn by Olivia Bouler, 11, an aspiring ornithologist who's raising money for birds hurt by the BP oil spill.

By Stephanie Steinberg, USA TODAY
Americans nationwide feel helpless when it comes to aiding the birds smothered in oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Not 11-year-old Olivia Bouler.

A fifth-grader from Long Island, N.Y., Olivia has raised more than $70,000 for the National Audubon Society— a non-profit dedicated to bird conservation — by drawing pictures of birds and sending them to people in the USA and abroad in return for a donation. :::snip:::

The donations are being used to clean oil-coated birds, transfer them to Florida to be released in safer environments and cover food and motel expenses for volunteers, says National Audubon Society president Frank Gill.

Gill says volunteers have found more than 800 dead birds — most of them pelicans — that have washed up on the Gulf shores. About 200 birds have been found alive. Pelican offspring are in serious trouble because they need to be fed four times a day, but the parents can't catch fish in oily waters, Gill says.

With no signs of the spill stopping, Olivia plans to continue drawing. She says the spill is a "depressing tragedy."

"BP made a huge mistake. ... I want to make up for that mistake," she says. "I want to save those birds that are dying."


Anger and Despair in the Gulf

(podcast) Monday, June 14, 2010 — Hard times in the Gulf. Jobs and a way of life now on the brink. We hear from folks living in the midst of it all. (But unfortunately not from those working to save the wildlife that is -or was- native to the area. ... "It's beyond sad," all of it. As Ashbrook asks, "People can hunker down, but is there something to hunker down to?")


Why the United States still can't get BP to do what's necessary
If Obama asserts no legal authority over BP, he can't cleanup the oil giant's cleanup
By Robert Reich (This post originally appeared at Robert Reich's blog)

Sunday, June 13, 2010 ...And right now BP’s first responsibility is to its creditors and shareholders, not to the American public.

So if it’s UK pensioners versus American workers and property owners, who wins? More to the point, who’s going to decide? Most likely, a judge – or several judges, here and in the UK, through a mountain of litigation that will keep thousands of attorneys, solicitors, and barristers busy for decades.

In the meantime, months or even years could go by as Coast Guard admirals and rear admirals, as well as the White House, tells BP it needs to spend more to stop and clean up the mess it’s created, it’s going way too slow, and it’s not divulging what it knows. And BP shrugs and says it’s doing all it can.

I’ve got a better idea. Wouldn’t it be far simpler for the White House (stating that the Pollution Control Act of 1990 gives it authority) to put BP’s American operations into temporary receivership? That way, Obama can take over BP’s assets here and use its expertise to stop the leak and clean up the mess as soon as possible — and leave the subsequent years of bickering to the courts.

Extra bonus: It shows the public the President is really in charge.



Don’t kill oiled birds, say UC Davis experts

June 13, 2010 — Rescuing oiled birds is the right thing to do because more of them survive and reproduce than previously thought, say UC Davis oiled wildlife experts in the first scientific review of all oiled-bird survival studies.

“Photos of extremely oiled pelicans in the Gulf spill have raised the question: ‘Are we helping these animals more by saving them, or by ending their suffering?’ said Michael Ziccardi, a UC Davis associate professor of veterinary medicine and oiled-wildlife expert who has responded to more than 45 spills and treated more than 6,500 oiled birds.

“It’s an entirely appropriate question to ask. I ask it myself every time I work in an oil spill. And my answer, based on caring for these injured birds throughout the world, is that we help them more by saving them.” :::snip:::

“In our studies of oiled pelicans and coots in the mid-1990’s, survival was not as successful as we would have liked,” Anderson said. “But there is some more encouraging research coming out lately on the survival rates of birds that received improved veterinary care, summarized by Warnock and Ziccardi.

“I would caution, though, that rehabilitation of oiled birds is not the solution to the conservation problem. It helps a small part of the population, even though I am personally concerned about saving individual pelicans from a strictly moral viewpoint.

“But this spill has permanently damaged the ecosystem where the birds and their descendants will live, and even the best veterinary care cannot overcome that obstacle. Only onsite restoration and conservation can, in the most optimistic view.”


6-13: Compounding the disaster --- how can this be?!

06/11/2010 - American Birding Association:
Room For Improvement In The Difficult Oiled Bird Recovery Strategy on Grand Isle, LA

Yesterday I had the good fortune of tagging along with a news crew to some of the outer barrier islands and nesting colonies in Barataria Bay, near Grand Isle Louisiana. It was my first time out in a boat since the last wave of oil hit, and since so many birds in the area became severely oiled. I got off on the East end of Grand Terre island, which is one of the islands that I have visited frequently. I only spent a short time there, but the effects of the last wave of oil were disturbing. Fully saturated boom lay on the shores, unable to collect more oil should it hit again. :::snip:::

And much more:

Now it seems that politics have taken a toll on this effort in Grand Isle as well. I was informed that the IBRRC, a highly experienced group from California who is contracted to rescue and rehabilitate the birds here has pulled out of the mission on Grand Isle due to communication and leadership issues. I have not contacted them for an official statement, but can report that the team of rescuers that had been here since day one, who have much experience responding to spills throughout the world ,and have been here learning the lay of the land are no longer here. :::snip:::

from http://birding.typepad.com/... http://tinyurl.com/26bwrca (with comments and pictures)


6/12 — Latest Update and Pictures: Oil continues to flow at a significant rate from 5,000 feet beneath the ocean surface, and the growing impact of the spill is now being felt in Alabama and Florida, in addition to Louisiana. The only good news for BP seems to be the absence of any major PR gaffes over the last 24 hours. The company has finally gotten a better handle on their communication with the media.


Number of oiled birds forces treatment facility to move by Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News, wwltv.com

Posted on June 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM — GRAND ISLE, La. - Workers in a small air-conditioned trailer handled the Brown Pelican with care. It is one of the lucky ones: spotted amidst the oil and subsequently rescued, the bird is now undergoing emergency care at a Wildlife Triage Center on Grand Isle. :::snip:::

So far, 312 live birds have made it through the triage center-- 30 have not. In all, though, the numbers illustrate the need for emergency care for oiled wildlife.
"As long as there's oil that's still moving around on the water, there's a potential for animals to become oiled," Callahan said.
Next week, the Wildlife Triage Center plans to move to a larger space, at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries facility on Grand Isle. http://tinyurl.com/29tob5k

BP oil spill: rescuing the wildlife caught in the slick
Alex Hannaford joined rescue teams battling to save the wildlife affected by the BP oil slick off the coast of Louisiana.

By Alex Hannaford in Grand Isle, Louisiana
Published: 8:08PM BST 12 Jun 2010

It is the home to thousands of nesting brown pelicans and their young as well as other exotic species of bird - roseate spoonbills, egrets and the rare reddish egret.

But on outlying Cat Island, part of the ragged shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico just south of New Orleans, the cacophony of squawking that is a normal feature of this spot belies an ugly truth.
The air is filled with the chemical aroma of crude oil, overwhelming the smell of faeces that would normally dominate. Red and black oil coats the rocks and you can see smudges of brown crude stuck to the bellies of birds flying overhead.

"See how oiled he is?" said Todd Baker, deputy director of the wildlife rescue efforts being run from the larger Grand Isle, just south of New Orleans, pointing to one pelican with outstretched wings. "He feels that weight and thinks it's water and he's trying to dry off, but he can't.

"Then he's using his beak to pick the oil off his feathers, and now he'll ingest that. He's in a pretty bad way."
This was the grim scene as The Sunday Telegraph was taken by boat to witness the first step in the rescue efforts being made all along this coast. :::snip:::

Oiled birds are taken to one of four facilities along the coast. A fifth is now being planned in Texas, a sign that the authorities anticipate oil spreading west, and another is being prepared inland at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, out of the reach of the hurricanes which are expected in the area soon.

The largest is an aluminium warehouse in Ft Jackson, about four hours by car from Grand Isle. Inside, the birds here represent living, breathing evidence of the environmental effects of the spill. Each one is photographed, documented and tagged.

Some 40 pelicans have already been released but others have died. Dr Jay Holcomb, executive director of the International Bird Rescue Research Centre, said at the moment they were dealing with between 60 and 90 birds a day. :::snip:::



National Zoo: Ready and Able to Help with Oil Spill Clean-Up

June 11, 2010 6:19 PM — Right now, the animal rescue duties are being handled by residents of the Gulf, but with a spill this large it's likely the region will need backup. If that call for backup comes, people like (Acting Curator of Birds) Boritt and his staff will be ready to help.

Boritt also took Budich into the Roseate Spoonbill's cage. The Roseate is a pink bird with a distinctive, spoon-shaped beak whose natural habitat is the Gulf Coast. Boritt said that even a "bird guy" like himself has trouble identifying the birds in the footage of oil-soaked creatures, but it's likely some of the brown birds on TV are indeed pink.

The Roseate is indeed more colorful than the Brown Pelican, but it seems to Boritt that the Brown Pelican is in the most danger. Just a few months ago it was taken off the Endangered Species list, but Boritt is convinced that by the end of this year it will be locally extinct - again - in Louisiana.

Making the situation worse for the Brown Pelican is that this is nesting season. So mothers who may be rescued and released in Florida are naturally inclined to try to find their way back to their nests. Those nests tend to be right in the heart of the spill.

And even if the mothers stay in Florida, officials are worrying more and more that the Atlantic coast of Florida might not be safe enough for the rescued birds. With oil still seeping into the ocean and currents moving it every which way, there's no guarantee oil won't find its way around the Panhandle. :::snip:::



Oil hitting Ala. beaches worst yet since spill

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's beaches took their worst hit yet from an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday as globs of crude and gooey tar — some the size of pancakes — lined the white sands and crews worked to try to keep a giant oil sheen just a few miles away from reaching the shore.

Scientists have estimated that anywhere between about 40 million gallons to 109 million gallons of oil have gushed into the Gulf since a drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The oil washing up on Alabama's shores was the heaviest since the rig explosion and came just as the summer beach season was picking up. :::snip:::


Day 52: Friday's Oil Slick concentrations: Oil-threatened coastline:


REPORT AIR DATE: June 11, 2010
BP Oil Leak Rate Estimate Doubled

New estimates suggest BP's ruptured well may have spewed twice as much oil into the Gulf of Mexico before it was capped than previously thought, raising new questions about cleanup and restoration efforts. Judy Woodruff has an update on the scope of the disaster. :::snip:::

JUDY WOODRUFF: The upshot is an even graver threat to the Gulf's animal and plant life. A Marine biologist at Texas A&M University warned today the environmental damage could be quadrupled. :::snip:::


See also: Gulf oil spill figures may be double earlier estimates

Government scientists say as many as 40,000 barrels of oil per day have been gushing into the gulf. BP has said the blown-out well will not be plugged before August.

...The new figures could mean 42 million to 84 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on the night of April 20 — with the lowest estimate nearly four times the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. ... http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-20100611,0,841698.story

Oil-threatened estuary is key to life in the gulf
Shrimp, crab, oysters, gators, birds, snakes, people – all have ties to Louisiana's Barataria Bay.

by Julie Cart, June 11, Reporting from Bataria Preserve, La.

The sickening images of pelicans st ruggling in oil along Louisiana's barrier islands only hint at what's at stake if the slick forces its way into the state's 3 million acres of estuaries and marshes. ...

Nearly everything that lives in the gulf is in some way connected to Barataria Bay, which is part of a coastal water system that regularly flushes with tides that mix salt water and fresh water. Pirates used the region's uncounted cul-de-sacs as hideouts and bases from which to launch forays into the gulf and Caribbean. Today, commercial fishermen motor south from their docks in Lafitte and Barataria. :::snip:::



Oil-soaked animals are victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/ Click on the video or write in the search box: Wildlife in the Gulf

Critics Question Pelican Rescues

Posted: June 10, 2010 04:48 PM — Of all the images that will remain with us as a symbol of the massive oil spill in the Gulf, the sight of Louisiana's state bird, struggling to survive, is one of the most poignant.

As hundreds of volunteers work practically around the clock to clean and rehabilitate not only Brown Pelicans, but also Sea Gulls, terns, and other oiled birds, critics are now calling the process a waste of energy.

In the seven weeks since the spill began, a total of four 442 birds have been rescued.

They are scrubbed clean with dishwashing liquid, and held a week or so to recover, then flown via a Coast Guard plane to Tampa Bay, Florida, in hopes the birds will incorporate with established Pelican colonies there.

Despite claims by the Minerals Management Service that techniques now being used are not effective in returning healthy birds to the wild, volunteers disagree, and say the exhausting effort is worth it.

With Brown Pelicans coming off the endangered species list just last year, volunteers say that every one that is rescued is worth the effort.


Environmentalist Addresses BP Oil Disaster at SB Museum of Natural History

June 10 — Ocean enthusiast and environmentalists gathered at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Wednesday night to listen to David Helvarg, ... author and founder of The Blue Frontier Campaign. ...

Helvarg said, "Years ago i was out on a BP deep water drilling and asked what happens if you get a blowout...the guy told me we'll probably see when it happens.”


One giant leap for oiled birds

rehabbed pelicans
Bill Nunn / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

June 9 — Rehabilitated birds from Louisiana's oil-spill zone are being airlifted to a new home that's famous for flight: NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Six brown pelicans, four laughing gulls and one common tern were flown from a bird-rescue center at Fort Jackson in Louisiana to Florida over the weekend. The birds were released on Sunday at the 140,000-acre Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is co-located with the space center. "They looked pretty normal," the refuge's supervisory park ranger, Dorn Whitmore, told me today. "They acted happy to be free again. If pelicans could look happy, that's how they'd look."

Bird-rescue crews were gearing up for another Louisiana-to-Florida transfer on Thursday, but Sharon Taylor, a veterinarian with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Louisiana, said the trip had to be postponed. "There was a problem with a last-minute health check," she told me. After the birds are cleaned up, they need a few days of drying and preening to make their feathers waterproof again, Taylor explained. During this evening's final check, she and her colleagues determined that the feathers weren't quite right yet. So it'll be another couple of days before the next airlift can take place. :::snip:::



A Bird's Eye View of the BP Oil Spill -- NBC News video

June 9 — This news report of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico features a "bird's eye view" of the spill, including footage of the pelican rookery filled with oiled adult birds and a dead dolphin. Nothing like taking a close look at the REAL victims of this disaster!

Read on » http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/a_birds_eye_view_of_the_bp_oil.php#meor

Oil Spill Answers: Is There Any Way To Keep Birds Away From the Oil?
By Alisa Opar

06/07/2010 — ...As one reader wrote, "Is there anything we can do to try at least to get them out of there before the oil hits, or before it devastates a whole flock? They do it at airports." Here's what Butcher, director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society, had to say:
The oil is very widespread. The birds are committed to using their traditional areas. While they are healthy, they are extremely difficult to catch. If they were caught and moved, the adults would fly right back. If they were harassed during the breeding season to try to get them to move, they would come right back because they are attached to their eggs and young. Because the oil is so widespread, the birds would have to move much farther than they would from an airport.

Prevention is key with oil. Once it is spilled there is little we can do. Once the leak has stopped and the clean-up has progressed, we can think about restoring the lost bird populations.


Clean the birds, or kill them?

June 7 — A biologist in Germany has stirred up a fuss with comments suggesting it makes more sense to kill heavily oiled birds from the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill disaster than to clean them.

"According to serious studies, the middle-term survival rate of oil-soaked birds is under 1 percent," Silvia Gaus, a biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park along the North Sea, was quoted as saying on Spiegel Online last month. "We, therefore, oppose cleaning birds."

Biologists on the scene who are actually involved in the cleanup tell a slightly different story: Sure, sometimes it makes sense to euthanize birds who aren’t going to make it, or leave them to die in their natural habitat. But ethically speaking, they feel a duty to try saving the birds if there’s a chance they can be saved.

For example, Rick Steiner, an Alaska marine biologist who was involved in the 1989 Exxon Valdez cleanup and is now assisting Greenpeace, said from a boat in the Gulf that he and the crew turned in a heavily oiled young egret for cleaning just today.

"It was in horrible shape," he told me via telephone, "and I doubt seriously that it will survive the day. But, you know, we caused their pain and suffering, so we owe it to them to do everything we possibly can to give them a fighting chance of survival.” ...

During the present crisis, however, the WWF has been supportive of bird-cleaning. Although it's not directly involved in oil-spill response, one of its partners on the scene is the California-based Oiled Wildlife Care Network. And one of my sources at the WWF deferred to the International Bird Rescue Research Center, which is heavily involved in the bird cleanup effort.

Mark Russell, a project manager at the IBRRC, took strong issue with Gaus' claim that cleaning is ineffective: He told me that the studies on which she based her conclusions suffered from some gaps in procedure. (For example, what were the rehabilitation practices? Did the monitoring equipment that was strapped onto the released birds contribute to their demise? If you can no longer locate a bird with a transmitter, should you always assume that the bird died?)

Other studies indicate that the survival rate for cleaned-up birds can be quite high, from 78 to 100 percent, as noted on the "Living the Scientific Life" blog. And as bad as those oily pelicans may look in the pictures from Louisiana, Russell said it's often the oiliest birds that have the highest survival rate. That's because they tend to be picked up earlier, before dehydration, hypothermia and other ills have set in. :::snip:::

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/06/07/4475943-clean-the-birds-or-kill-them (with many comments.)

In Alabama, a Home-Grown Bid to Beat Back Oil
Published: June 7, 2010

MAGNOLIA SPRINGS, Ala. — James Hinton looked over a barge jutting into the mouth of a 6,000-acre estuary last weekend and said, “If we can make this work, if the oil don’t get in here, 1,275 miles of bay and river coastline will be protected.”

A day later, Mr. Hinton said: “I could go to jail for going against unified command. Now, I don’t mind going to jail, I just need to make sure it’s for doing the right thing.”

In a month in which Gulf Coast officials have railed about not being able to protect their shorelines from oil and not getting support from BP or the unified command structure set up to handle the cleanup efforts, Mr. Hinton, a volunteer fire chief in Magnolia Springs, a small town of fewer than 1,000, has emerged as a man with a plan.

“What he’s doing is really admirable,” said Bethany Kraft, executive director of the Alabama Coastal Foundation, a nonprofit environmental group. “He’s taking things into his own hands instead of waiting for other people to do something about it.”

Mr. Hinton said that so far no other communities had contacted him about copying his plan. “A fire chief told me, ‘Jamie, you can slow down in your preparations, the federal government is going to take care of it.’ I said, ‘Meaning the way they took care of Katrina, Ivan and the Valdez spill?’ ”

He added: “If you wait on BP, it’ll be like Louisiana. They had a month to protect the marshes. The Bible says the good Lord made the world in seven days. I’m not going to risk what happened in Louisiana happening here.”



The price of the pelican
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist | June 8, 2010

THE SUBTITLE of the BP oil spill is the Price of the Pelican. We will never fully know the cost of this spill to wildlife and wetlands, because it will continue its slow-motion rampage long after the lawyers have settled. Rowan Gould, the acting director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, said the spill “in all likelihood will affect fish and wildlife resources in the Gulf and across the North American continent for years, if not decades to come.’’


A study in the journal Science, conducted 14 years after the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound in 1989 and fouled 1,300 miles of Alaskan coastline, found that pink salmon, sea otters, harlequin ducks were either still dying or not reproducing at “astounding’’ rates. Exxon settled with the federal government and the state of Alaska in 1991 for $1 billion for environmental restoration, but lead researcher Charles Peterson of the University of North Carolina said toxic levels of oil from the disaster continued to contaminate the food chain for wildlife in “surprisingly large’’ hidden pools in sediment and underneath boulders. :::snip:::



Care for Some Crude With Your Sushi?

Posted on: June — The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the worst environmental disaster the US has faced. Toxic oil from the Deepwater Horizon well threatens the region's sensitive shorelines and the nesting birds along the Louisiana coast. But there's another species at serious risk: the Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus. This disturbing video tells you more about their plight, and how this oil spill could be the last straw that pushes them over the edge ...

This special marine podcast takes the form of an urgent warning about the future of the species. The spawning habitat of the bluefin tuna overlaps with the oil-spill zone and the disaster comes right at the peak of spawning season. The larvae might not withstand the toxic effects of the spilled oil.

The bluefin tuna is already living dangerously close to the edge thanks to overfishing and climate change. The Deepwater Horizon catastrophe could wipe out the region's bluefin populations forever.



Wildlife Toll Mounts as BP Oil Inundates Gulf Coast Marshes
By APRIL REESE of Greenwire

June 7, 2010 — VENICE, La. -- After several hours motoring through the bays and passes that web across the Mississippi River Delta, Bob Ford, a wildlife biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service, spots a few brown pelicans and frigate birds perched on the remnants of a hurricane-ravaged barge platform in Redfish Bay.

As Ford's boat approaches, the birds fly away, and he watches them through his binoculars as they disappear across the taupe-gray water.

"At least one of those pelicans had a bit of oil on it," he says.

It is not enough to inhibit flying, but as the young bird preens it could ingest the oil.

"It will potentially get into the bloodstream," Ford says, and that could mean damage to the liver, kidney or lungs, and possibly death.

The juvenile brown pelican is one of hundreds of birds harmed by oil spreading from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon well, about 50 miles southeast of here. The 3,500 square-mile oil slick, which grows daily as oil continues to well up from 5,000 feet beneath the ocean's surface, is now reaching the islands of the Mississippi Delta, fringing wetlands with toxic black muck and coating wildlife that come into contact with it. :::snip:::

While much work remains to be done, all the human activity on the water could inadvertently stress the birds even more, Murgatroyd said.

"These birds aren't used to seeing so many people," she says, scanning a birdless island in Redfish Bay from the stern of a small fishing boat, as another vessel passes nearby. "We've by default hazed them."

Worsening land loss?

The oiling of wetlands is not only a threat to wildlife. It could also accelerate the loss of land along the shrinking Louisiana coast. :::snip:::

Click here for updated information about FWS's response to the spill.


The Oil Spill Story Finally Hits Home
by David Walker

June 7, 2010 — Associated Press photographer Charlie Riedel’s up-close images of brown pelicans soaked in oil finally brought home the effects of the Gulf oil spill catastrophe last week. They showed scenes that photographers have had much difficulty documenting, not only because of the location of the spill, but because BP and government officials have worked to keep the spill’s consequences out of sight—and out of mind.

“It sort of shocked people into thinking this is real serious,” Riedel says of his widely published images. “The instances of wildlife being impacted and photographed were minimal [and as a result] this story, over a month and a half, became background noise. But this personalized it.”

The spill occurred 50 miles off shore, and oil has reached coastal areas slowly and haphazardly. Affected areas have been inaccessible by vehicle. By all accounts, that has made it difficult and expensive for photographers to cover the story. “You have to hire a boat to take you out. That can cost over $1,000 per day,” says Los Angeles Times photographer Carolyn Cole, who has been covering the story for her newspaper since April 29.

“Finding rides and finding people who know where to go is a challenge,” Riedel says. :::snip:::


New Orleans' Brown Pelicans - Ultimate Survivors, From 'Silent Spring' to Gulf Oil Disaster
by Ron Callari

May 27 marked the anniversary of the birth of Rachel Carson, celebrated author and wildlife conservationist. When her book Silent Spring was first published in 1962, New Orleans state bird, the Brown Pelican was on the verge of extinction, due to pesticides and pollution. Almost 50 years later, that same bird faces a similar fate from another man-made disaster. :::snip::: Video: Wildlife Apocalypse: YouTube - unbearably sad and painful to see all those white birds, the juvenile pelicans, too young to fly away, even if there were anywhere safe, doomed to starve.


Rate of Oil Leak, Still Not Clear, Puts Doubt on BP
Published: June 7, 2010

The company’s liability will ultimately be determined in part by how many barrels of oil are spilled.

The immense undersea gusher of oil and gas, seen on live video feed, looks as big as it did last week, if not bigger, before the company sliced through the pipe known as a riser to install its new collection device.

At least one expert, Ira Leifer, who is part of a government team charged with estimating the flow rate, is convinced that the operation has made the leak worse, perhaps far worse than the 20 percent increase that government officials warned might occur when the riser was cut.

Dr. Leifer said in an interview on Monday that judging from the video, cutting the pipe might have led to a several-fold increase in the flow rate from the well.

“It’s apparent that BP is playing games with us, presumably under the advice of their legal team,” Dr. Leifer said. “It’s six weeks that it’s been dumping into the gulf, and still no measurements.” :::snip:::



BP Well Bore And Casing Integrity May Be Blown, Says Florida’s Sen. Nelson
By: bmaz Monday June 7, 2010 11:15 am

Nelson, one of the most informed and diligent Congressmen on the BP gulf oil spill issue, has received reports of leaks in the well, located in the Mississippi Canyon sector. This is potentially huge and devastating news.

If Nelson is correct in that assertion, and he is smart enough to not make such assertions lightly, so I think they must be taken at face value, it means the well casing and well bore are compromised and the gig is up on containment pending a completely effective attempt to seal the well from the bottom via successful “relief wells”. In fact, I have confirmed with Senator Nelson’s office that they are fully aware of the breaking news and significance of what the Senator said to Andrea Mitchell.


I may have been uncomfortably close to the mark. And the quote from Sir Richard Mottram was dead on the money; if Senator Nelson is correct about the breach of fundamental well integrity, the game is close to over for the Gulf of Mexico. We shall see where this goes from Nelson’s initial comment. But make no mistake, Nelson is a careful guy not prone to overt hyperbole, and he clearly understood the ramifications of what he was saying.

It also means, of course, that BP and the Obama Administrations continue to give the American public short shrift in the truth and honesty departments. How surprising.



BP Fails Booming School 101

June 7, 2010 — BP Fails Booming School 101, creating an environmental disaster and is failing to take the lead in cleanup. BP claims they "are prepared" to deal with such things as an oil spill -- if they are so prepared, then why is this happening? This video shows that, contrary to BP's lies about their preparedness, they actually are NOT prepared AT ALL. Unfortunately, our federal government is also failing to protect the Gulf from massive corporate interests that sacrifice the little guy (and our environment) to the gods of the gawdalmighty dollar.

Read on » http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/bp_fails_booming_school_101.php

Gulf oil spill: Wildlife toll grows as more oil washes ashore
June 6, 2010 | 7:50 am

The number of birds found alive and coated in oil throughout in five Gulf Coast states has nearly doubled to 177, with 156 of them picked up in Louisiana. But 547 birds have been found dead, 73 of them oil-soaked. It is not known whether the others died as a result of the oil, but experts said that's possible.

Wildlife experts fear that the population of Louisiana's brown pelicans, which only recently bounced back from near extinction, could once again be destabilized. "It made me sick seeing those two oiled birds,” Dantzker said. “I was incredibly sad.” The group called a bird hot-line to report the two dying pelicans. In less than an hour, a boat arrived.

“It was an incredible relief when those guys came and picked them up,” said Dantzker. “Saving individual birds is great, but it’s not the answer to the larger ecological problem.”

Three rescue workers came ashore wearing white coveralls, plastic gloves and yellow booties,and carrying big nets. They rushed to the scene with the urgency of paramedics.

It’s not only the birds that are falling prey to the oil. Oil has been seen on the fins and tails of bottlenose dolphins as they slowly swim through the polluted waters off the bay side of Grand Terre Island. They swam behind a boom stretched 100 yards from shore, but it provides little protection. A female and her calf surfaced together while several others could be swimming in the area.


Help Dawn Save Oiled Wildlife

June 6, 2010 — Experiments have shown that Dawn dishwashing liquid works best to save oiled wildlife and doesn't burn their tender skin and eyes. According to the information I've found, Dawn is donating all the detergent used to clean oiled Gulf of Mexico birds, and is also raising funds to help with the clean up effort.

Read on » http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/help_dawn_save_oiled_wildlife.php#more

Oil Cap “working” while brown pelicans die
Business, News | Stoff | June 6, 2010 at 11:04 am

As of noon, June 5, 57 “visibly oiled” birds have been found dead since the oil spill began April 20 with the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion off the Louisiana coast, according to government reports. The death toll, like the 156 visibly oiled birds found alive so far, has more than doubled since June 4, figures reflected in the accounts of boatmen, biologists and rescuers at Grand Isle on Saturday.




Can the Rescued Pelicans Stay Clean?

June 6, 2010, 8:37 am — In an article on Saturday in The Times, my colleague John Rudolf and I wrote about brown pelicans, ...

The good news is that bird rescue has gotten much better than it was even 15 years ago. In the 1990s, Dan Anderson, then a professor at University of California at Davis, found that California brown pelicans did not recover well from being cleaned after an oil spill — the stress of being handled by people helped kill them.

Since then, it has been learned that the birds must be hydrated, calmed and fed for a day and then cleaned. Their survival rate has subsequently improved.

But that does not mean that cleaning is a solution for the rescued bird, says Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation of the Louisiana Coastal Initiative for the National Audubon Society.

While she praises the bird-cleaning efforts, she wonders about their long-term effectiveness.

She points out that when the birds return to the wild, even if they are taken to points far from the spill, their strong nesting instincts will probably drive them right back.

Ms. Driscoll said the real priority now should be to protect nesting colonies on the Atlantic coast of Florida and in Texas, which have not yet been hit by oil, so they can be as productive as possible.



Cap Reported to Recover 10,000 Barrels of Oil a Day
Published: June 6, 2010

Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP, said in a BBC interview broadcast Sunday that the containment cap was allowing engineers to funnel 10,000 barrels of oil a day up to surface ships.

The ruptured well is leaking an estimated 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oils day.

“We have a further containment system to implement in the course of this coming week which will be in place by next weekend, so when those two are in place, we would very much hope to be containing the vast majority of the oil,” Mr. Hayward told the BBC :::snip::: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/us/07capture.html?ref=global-home


The spill has been described as the biggest environmental disaster in US history.

Mr Hayward told the BBC that BP would restore the Gulf to its original state.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hayward said: "As we speak, the containment cap is producing around 10,000 barrels of oil a day to the surface."

His company, he said, was going to stop the leak and take care of the consequences.

"We're going to clean-up the oil, we're going to remediate any environmental damage and we are going to return the Gulf coast to the position it was in prior to this event. That's an absolute commitment, we will be there long after the media has gone, making good on our promises."

But the man in charge of the federal efforts to cope with the spill said no-one should be pleased "as long as there's oil in the water".
Coast Guard Adm Thad Allen told CNN the spill was "an insidious enemy that's attacking our shores". :::snip:::

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10248409.stm (with graphics of the attempts to cap the leak.)


Delaware team leads wildlife recovery

By ROBIN BROWN • The News Journal • June 4, 2010

Veterinarian Erica Miller holds a young male brown pelican, gently and slowly stroking his bill with a baby toothbrush to remove a tar-like coating of dark brown-and-orange oil.

Miller is part of the Oil Spill Response Team from Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research near Newark. The team, with 10 members in the Gulf region as of Thursday, is among more than 22,000 people who have responded after a BP offshore drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 and sending a gusher of crude oil -- now estimated as much as 46 million gallons -- into the Gulf. The Tri-State team was brought in to lead the wildlife recovery.:::snip:::

Although the bird she's treating is nearly covered with oil, Miller decides the pelican is strong enough to survive the cleaning process.

The bird already has dealt with the stresses of capture, containment and human contact. Ahead is the arduous cleaning process.

But first, Miller lets the pelican rest. Later, using gloves, small cloths and cotton swabs, she leads a team of four in the nearly hour-long cleaning process that will wash and wipe off the oil. The team goes through about 300 gallons of water hot enough to make them sweat. :::snip:::

People want to help

Since the day after the spill, thousands who want to volunteer have e-mailed or called Tri-State's headquarters at the end of Possum Hollow Road.

But team members need extensive training, not just in oil spill protocols and animal treatment procedures, but also U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration policies, said Barbara Druding, president of Tri-State's board of directors.

To be on site, Tri-State had to sign a contract with BP that requires everyone to have current OSHA training, hazardous-materials training, rabies shots and at least six months' rescue experience, Stout said. BP agreed to reimburse the team's expenses, but restricted media access and forbade fundraising for work on the spill.

See: YouTube: Oiled Bird gets Bath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlNaAfE7qx0&feature=player_embedded



The Gulf Oil Spill 9 Most Outrageous Moments So Far (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)

and also an outrageous, shameful inadequate response in rescuing the seabirds and other wildlife....

Gulf Oil Spill: Cap Placed Over Leak Collecting Only Fraction Of The Oil

HOLBROOK MOHR and JOHN FLESHER | 06/ 5/10 06:58 PM | AP

ON BARATARIA BAY, La. — The wildlife apocalypse along the Gulf Coast that everyone has feared for weeks is fast becoming a terrible reality.

Pelicans struggle to free themselves from oil, thick as tar, that gathers in hip-deep pools, while others stretch out useless wings, feathers dripping with crude. Dead birds and dolphins wash ashore, coated in the sludge. Seashells that once glinted pearly white under the hot June sun are stained crimson.

Scenes like this played out along miles of shoreline Saturday, nearly seven weeks after a BP rig exploded and the wellhead a mile below the surface began belching millions of gallon of oil. :::snip:::

The oil has steadily spread east, washing up in greater quantities in recent days, even as a cap placed by BP over the blownout well began to collect some of the escaping crude. The cap, resembling an upside-down funnel, has captured about 252,000 gallons of oil, according to Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the crisis.

If earlier estimates are correct, that means the cap is capturing from a quarter to as much as half the oil spewing from the blowout each day. But that is a small fraction of the roughly 24 million to 47 million gallons government officials estimate have leaked into the Gulf since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers, making it the nation's largest oil spill ever. :::snip:::

With no oil response workers on Queen Bess, Plaquemines Parish coastal zone management director P.J. Hahn decided he could wait no longer, pulling an exhausted brown pelican from the oil, the slime dripping from its wings.

"We're in the sixth week, you'd think there would be a flotilla of people out here," Hahn said. "As you can see, we're so far behind the curve in this thing." :::snip:::

"People naturally tend to focus on things that are most conspicuous, like oiled birds, but in my opinion the impacts on fisheries will be much more severe," said Rich Ambrose, director of the environmental science and engineering at program at UCLA.

The Gulf is also home to dolphins and species including the endangered sperm whale. A government report found that dolphins with prolonged exposure to oil in the 1990s experienced skin injuries and burns, reduced neurological functions and lower hemoglobin levels in their blood. It concluded, though, that the effects probably wouldn't be lethal because many creatures would avoid the oil. Yet dolphins in the Gulf have been spotted swimming through plumes of crude.

Gilly Llewellyn, oceans program leader with the World Wildlife Fund in Australia, said she observed the same behavior by dolphins following a 73-day spill last year in the Timor Sea.

"A heartbreaking sight," Llewellyn said. "And what we managed to see on the surface was undoubtedly just a fraction of what was happening."

The prospect left fishing guide Marino shaking his head, as he watched the oil washing into a marsh and over the body of a dead pelican. Species like shrimp and crab flourish here, finding protection in the grasses. Fish, birds and other creatures feed here.

"It's going to break that cycle of life," Marino said. "It's like pouring gas in your aquarium. What do you think that's going to do?"



US officials under fire as birds succumb to oil

By Allen Johnson (AFP) – (June 4)

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — The US government will respond to complaints that not enough people are tasked with rescuing creatures soaked in oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill, a top US official pledged Friday.

As shocking pictures of helpless birds smothered in thick, rust-coloured layers of oil emerged, the environmental group the Sierra Club argued too few people are deployed on the ground to help the stricken wildlife.

"The scope of this thing is to where it's really unprecedented," Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the US government response to the worst US spill in history, told reporters.

He said in a conference call that cleanup workers now have a "battle line" stretching from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle since the oil began spewing into the Gulf in April.

He pledged the government would respond to the Sierra Club's complaint that too few rescuers had been deployed to help oiled pelicans, birds and dolphins off the Louisiana coast.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, who recently toured of an oil-threatened pelican breeding ground off the Louisiana coast in a boat, said he was "struck by the futility of the clean-up effort."

Miles of protective boom laid off the Louisiana wetlands only "minimizes" the oil damage to fish and wildlife and the marsh, he said.

"We saw a couple of brown pelicans drenched in oil unable to lift themselves out of the water," Brune told AFP, adding an oiled dolphin also appeared to be suffering.

Brune said more wildlife rescuers are clearly needed, but he doubts that more boom will do much to stop the surface oil on the fragile wetlands.

"The booms only go about 18 inches (0.5 meters) down," Brune said.

"I don't think there's enough boom to cover this whole region -- no matter what," he said. "The protection of boom can only go so far."

Brune said he and other Sierra Club members on the boat trip saw oil coming in the tide and "lapping" over large portions of protective booms around pelican rookeries in Barataria Bay. :::snip:::

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hy9q0Gz_T8hRnPjz_ByueWVSpTdQ

And washes into Florida: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIXWYBTpLtSayJtg41LKXpxSxVPAD9G4LTFG1


Pelicans and other birds drenched with oil in offshore nesting areas
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

June 4th, 2010 — Pictures of pelicans encased in oil and struggling to walk are making it graphically, unequivocally plain to see that the BP oil disaster is a death knell for wildlife and ecosystems across the Gulf of Mexico.:::snip:::


Oiled brown pelicans rescued
BP attempts containment cap over leak

* By SANDY DAVIS, Advocate staff writer, Published: Jun 4, 2010 - Page: 1A

Brown pelicans drenched in black oil were found Thursday on East Grand Terre Island while BP was attempting to place a containment cap over the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

The brown pelicans, Louisiana’s state bird, were found when Gov. Bobby Jindal toured the island to survey a dredging operation. :::snip:::

and a reader’s important - unanswered - questions:

"Oiled Brown Pelicans Rescued" Nine lines in four very short paragraphs on this topic. Sad...very sad indeed. I beleive this entire story should have been devoted to the Title of it, instead, we get the complete history of the past events and the storyline of what the Federal Govt. and BP intends to do ...blah, blah,blah........blah,blah,blah..... Our environment is under 'severe" attack because of this and it seems like enough is not being done. I am not an animal rights activist by no means,but after seeing this video on the news last night of this same bird on the beach covered with oil,struggling to keep it's head above the incoming surf, it's very disheartening to say the least, coming from someone that has witnessed many sunsets and sunrises on Grand Isle with these beautiful birds flying through my view as if it were scripted. It should (have) be(en) published with this article about where these birds are taken to for cleaning. What should I do with a pelican if I happen to decide to go out onto the water myself and see one needing assistance and I decide to pick him/them up into my boat? Who can i contact to voluteer to go out and search the marshes and beaches for affected birds and animal?


Los Angeles Times, front page photo and web gallery: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-html,0,6610369.htmlstory and LAT environment section with special feature Gulf Oil Spill


BP starts piping leaking oil to ship
Officials are cautiously optimistic that a new cap will divert most of the crude. Obama visits the gulf and scolds the company. By Bettina Boxall and Peter Nicholas, Los Angeles Times

June 4, 2010 — Reporting from Los Angeles and Kenner, La. —
In a sign that BP may be on the verge of subduing its uncontrolled well, oil started flowing through a containment cap into a drill ship Friday, even as President Obama chastised the company for launching a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign.
"The paradigm in which BP and the wide industry operates needs to change," Hayward said.

In addressing criticism for his handling of the disaster, Hayward said it was "right that I should be the lightning rod." He added that "stick and stones can hurt your bones, but will never break them, whatever the expression is."

Scientists with the University of South Florida said laboratory tests had confirmed that at least two extensive plumes detected underwater miles from the leak are from the spill, the Associated Press reported.

Hayward has said there was no evidence of large underwater plumes, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been reluctant to identify them without conclusive lab evidence.

In its start-up stage, the cap operation was capturing only a fraction of the estimated 500,000 to 800,000 gallons of oil that has been rushing into the gulf daily for six weeks. ... BP and federal officials then shifted to a containment strategy, involving the cap, while they work on the ultimate solution: two relief wells, now being drilled, that will be used to pump cement into the bottom of the damaged well, permanently sealing it.



Back From Brink of Extinction, Only to Face Threat From Oil

June 4, 2010 — FORT JACKSON, La. — For more than a decade, the hundreds of brown pelicans that nested among the mangrove shrubs on Queen Bess Island west of here were living proof that a species brought to the edge of extinction could come back and thrive.

The island was one of three sites in Louisiana where the large, long-billed birds were reintroduced after pesticides wiped them out in the state in the 1960s.

But on Thursday, 29 of the birds, their feathers so coated in thick brown sludge that their natural white and gray markings were totally obscured, were airlifted to a bird rehabilitation center in Fort Jackson, the latest victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Another dozen were taken to other rescue centers.
The potential for damage was frighteningly apparent at the rescue center set up here by the International Bird Rescue Research Center with BP and federal and state officials. All day Thursday, oiled birds, including the 29 brown pelicans, arrived at the makeshift veterinary emergency room built in a hangar on a former military base. They were carried from Coast Guard helicopters in dog kennels and cardboard boxes with air holes punched in them.

Most of the birds were so thoroughly coated in crude that they could not stand up. Some were stuck to the floor of their cages. Workers wiped off thick globs of oil with towels, then gave them fluids and fed them a fish slurry.

The pelicans were placed in plywood pens covered with blankets. The next morning, workers began to clean them using hot water and Dawn, a mild dish detergent.

So far, even the most heavily oiled pelicans have survived. Had they not been treated immediately, however, they would have almost certainly drowned or died of starvation or exposure, according to a veterinarian with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The birds at the rehabilitation center, said Sharon Taylor, a veterinarian here, represent a lucky few — far more are certain to die in the wild.

“A lot of them will just disappear into the environment,” she said. “We will probably only find a very, very small percentage of what’s been impacted out there.” ...


BP Funneling Some of Leak to the Surface
Published: June 4, 2010

HOUSTON — BP and government officials said Friday that a cap installed over a gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico was funneling some oil and gas to the surface, but they cautioned that much was still leaking and that it would be days before they could declare this latest containment effort a success.

See also: http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/95590054.html


Obama Warns BP on Paying Big Dividends Amid Oil Spill

Published: June 4, 2010

NEW ORLEANS — President Obama visited the Gulf Coast on Friday and chastised BP for paying billions of dollars in dividends to shareholders and on advertising to save its image while some people whose livelihoods were wrecked by the company’s oil spill were reporting difficulties in getting their claims paid.

“My understanding is that BP has contracted for $50 million worth of TV advertising to manage their image during the course of this disaster,” President Obama said after meeting with local and federal officials at the airport near here.

“In addition, there are reports that BP will be paying $10.5 billion – that’s billion, with a B – in dividend payments this quarter,” he continued. “Now I don’t have a problem with BP fulfilling its legal obligations, but I want BP to be very clear they’ve got moral and legal obligations here in the Gulf for the damage that has been done.


Putting a Face on the Gulf Oil Leak

The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico finally has a face.

Or, rather, faces — at once primordially familiar and yet utterly strange under their new bronze patinas. As close-up photographs begin to appear that document the insult and injury done to coastal wildlife by the Deepwater Horizon leak, public pressure on the Obama administration and BP to stop the leak — stoked by an emotional response to such troubling images — will surely grow.

These are the faces that government officials and oil executives may see in their nightmares.


June 3, 2010
Caught in the oil

A short entry - AP Photographer Charlie Riedel just filed the following images of seabirds caught in the oil slick on a beach on Louisiana's East Grand Terre Island. As BP engineers continue their efforts to cap the underwater flow of oil, landfall is becoming more frequent, and the effects more evident. (8 photos total)



Wildlife rescue effort is a challenge in the gulf
A team of experts combs the bayous and open waters off Louisiana for dead or suffering creatures. The search is nothing like the one in the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times
9:22 PM PDT, June 3, 2010
Reporting from Pass-a-Loutre, La.

The small boat approached four pelicans perched on a rusty platform emerging from the flat green waters of the Gulf of Mexico on this steaming hot and windless day. They peered down their long beaks at the vessel. Then, as if teasing the humans spying on them through binoculars, two of the birds spread their wings and soared away just as the boat drew near.

"I certainly believe this has the potential to be a huge ecological disaster," said Barnhill, one of about three dozen people stationed on a houseboat about 35 miles off Louisiana's southeastern tip.

Each morning, wildlife teams deploy from here to scour the region, using information gleaned from satellite images of the oil slick, knowledge of bird colonies' expected locations, and from reports at a central command center of possible wildlife in distress. They are among an army of hundreds, from state, federal and environmental organizations, spread out across the gulf.

At night, the workers input their findings into a data system to steer their search efforts. Bird, fish and reptile tallies appear on colorful charts, and the latest oil sightings are quickly mapped for morning deployments.
This time, the oil is lighter in weight and color. Some wildlife can function, for awhile at least, if soiled. That makes it hard to determine which animals should be caught. Once captured, the creatures must be hurriedly sent to a rehabilitation center on land to avoid becoming overheated. And because it is difficult for searchers to blanket such a huge area — the waters closed to fishing alone cover 76,000 square miles — scavengers probably are devouring some affected animals before they can be rescued.

So far, the number of captured or dead fish, birds, mammals and reptiles seems low in relation to the amount of oil that has spilled: On Wednesday the tally included 522 birds, with an additional 82 rescued. Searchers had found 228 dead sea turtles and 29 dead mammals, including dolphins. Most creatures did not show obvious signs of being in contact with oil, but it is possible they were affected in ways not immediately visible.

Wildlife experts fear the numbers belie the scope of the toll. The reeds and bayous prove perfect hiding spots for wildlife that might be ailing. Also, biologists suspect that dead wildlife is probably sinking at sea.

"It's nice to protect the birds, but it's the whole ecosystem that's critical," Barnhill said.

"It's the basis for the food chain. ...

"I honestly believe we have a catastrophe to deal with, and resources are very limited," said Domino, whose sunburned face speaks to his years as a fisherman. "We're fighting a war in Afghanistan, and we have soldiers in Iraq. We just came through Katrina," he said, describing the fear of gulf residents that their lives have been irrevocably changed by this.

It's impossible to keep wildlife away from the oil as it moves, said Rhonda Murgatroyd, one of the managing directors of the wildlife rescue efforts.

"Birds know no boundaries," she said.



PHOTO GALLERY | Flyover of Deepwater Horizon site
Bradenton Herald
THE MIAMI HERALD - Brown pelicans rest on a recently cleaned island in the Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, June 2, 2010. ..


June 3, 2010
Video: Birds drenched in oil
Posted: 06:36 PM ET

Anderson Cooper AC360° Anchor



Site Gives Turtle Tops Odds for Extinction Due to Oil Spill
Updated: Wednesday, 02 Jun 2010, 11:17 AM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 02 Jun 2010, 11:01 AM CDT

(CANVAS STAFF REPORTS) - Odds are that the Gulf oil spill will cost more than BP's profit margin in the end. Entire species of animals are at risk. And PaddyPower.com , a gambling website, is letting people bet on which may go first.

A story by Greenwire on The New York Times reports that odds are that the Kemp's Ridley turtle would be the first to go. A $5 bet would win $9 if it becomes extinct because of the spill.

According to Mother Nature Network , the Kemp's Ridley turtle is an endangered species that migrates along the coastline from Mexico to Florida.

PaddyPower.com gives 6-to-4 odds to the blue fin tuna, 8-to-1 odds to brown pelicans and the leatherback sea turtle. Payout rates for the gulf sturgeon, elkhorn coral and smalltooth sawfish are 20-to-1. :::snip::: http://www.kljb.com/dpps/news/site-gives-turtle-tops-odds-for-extinction-due-to-oil-spill-dpgoha-20100602-fc_7866334


Dying, dead marine wildlife paint dark, morbid picture of Gulf Coast following oil spill

BY Matthew Lysiak In Grand Isle, La. and Helen Kennedy DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERSOriginally Published:Wednesday, June 2nd 2010, 12:52 AM Updated: Wednesday, June 2nd 2010, 5:44 PM

Here's what President Obama didn't see when he visited the Gulf Coast: a dead dolphin rotting in the shore weeds.

"When we found this dolphin it was filled with oil. Oil was just pouring out of it. It was the saddest darn thing to look at," said a BP contract worker who took the Daily News on a surreptitious tour of the wildlife disaster unfolding in Louisiana.

His motive: simple outrage.

"There is a lot of coverup for BP. They specifically informed us that they don't want these pictures of the dead animals. They know the ocean will wipe away most of the evidence. It's important to me that people know the truth about what's going on here," the contractor said.

"The things I've seen: They just aren't right. All the life out here is just full of oil. I'm going to show you what BP never showed the President." :::snip:::

On Monday, a Daily News team was escorted away from a public beach on Elmer's Island bycops who said they were taking orders from BP.

BP spokesman Toby Odone denied the company is trying to hide the environmental damage; he noted BP has organized press visits to the spill zone and said BP cannot tell cops what to do.

The contractor for BP said the public needs to see the truth.

"BP is going to say the deaths of these animals wasn't oil-related," he said. "We know the truth. I hope these pictures get to the right people - to someone who can do something."

hkennedy@nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/06/02/2010-06-02_the_hidden_death_in_the_gulf.html


Louisiana's state bird, the brown pelican, under assault from spreading oil, biologists say
By Bob Marshall, The Times-Picayune

photos by Ellis Lucia/The Times-Picayune

June 01, 2010, 5:48PM — State and federal wildlife agencies spent four decades rebuilding Louisiana's pelican population after it was decimated by the insecticide DDT. This brown pelican was photographed Sunday in the marsh near Pass a Loutre.

From a distance the small grass and mangrove islands on the eastern side of Barataria Bay seem like the happiest places on the planet for a brown pelican. More than 1,500 of Louisiana's gregarious state birds are noisily consumed with bringing their next generation into the wetlands. Parents sit on tall nests of sticks and grass that cradle fist-sized eggs, or constantly wing between the bay and the island bringing meals to newly-hatched chicks - tiny, featherless, bony creatures that look more like dinosaurs than birds.

But a slim line separates domestic joy from tragedy. It's the brown line of oil sludge gripping the islands at the tidal waterline, a chemical cocktail that could at least injure and probably kill any birds that wade through it.
This year it could be a line that decimates an entire generation of Louisiana pelicans, biologists say.

"Young pelicans love to go down to that zone when they first start to walk, because they like getting out of the nest and moving around," said Mike Carloss, biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. "But if they get in there with a fresh wave of oil, the result could be devastating." :::snip:::



BP's massive spill threatens Gulf's vast undersea lifeBY RENEE SCHOOF

WASHINGTON -- As the magnitude of BP's oil spill becomes clearer, scientists fear the volume of oil, the depth of the leak and the chemical dispersants the company is using will combine to threaten a vast array of undersea life for years.

At risk are such endangered species as Kemp's ridley sea turtles and the Atlantic bluefin tuna, as well as the Gulf of Mexico's 8,300 other creatures from plankton to birds. The contamination, some say, is likely to undo years of work that brought some wildlife, such as the brown pelican, back from the brink of extinction.

"It's probably going to be one of the worst disasters we've ever seen," said Paul Montagna, a professor of ecology at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi.

"Instead of creating a typical spill, where the oil goes to the surface and you can scoop it up, this stuff has been distributed throughout the water column, and that means everything, absolutely everything, is being affected," he said.

Further complicating the toxic effects of the oil, the chemical dispersants - used as never before a mile below the surface - have changed the crude in ways that will keep it from breaking down.

The dispersants have modified the oil, keeping it in a form that's "much gooier and much oilier, and that has a lot of us worried, because it means the stuff is not going to degrade very easily," said James H. Cowan Jr., a professor of biological oceanography at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Because of the high pressure deep underwater, it's harder for dispersants to break up the oil, he said.
"A lot of us suspect that we may be dealing with this for decades," Cowan said.
BP's use of the dispersants also is likely to keep the damage hidden. :::snip:::

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/30/1655456/bps-massive-spill-threatens-gulfs.html#ixzz0prZ7uych







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