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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.

 

SPECIAL NEWS SECTION

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: April 20->May 31

2010: June 1 -> 15

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


IS IT ENOUGH?

US F&W searching for oiled pelicans

Fisheries biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service search for oiled Brown Pelicans in the Gulf. Credit: Kim Betton, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Public Affairs

What We Are Doing
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has sent hundreds of personnel into the Gulf of Mexico region to respond to the BP Oil Spill. We are working with BP and many partners to do everything we can to minimize the impact of the oil spill on fish, wildlife and habitat.
Our people are preparing for potential oil impact at 36 wildlife refuges that line the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. We are conducting aerial and ground surveys to assess the damage, and recovering oiled or injured wildlife to be cleaned, healed and released in safe locations.
Refuges at Risk
There are 36 National Wildlife Refuges at risk from the BP Oil Spill. These precious national resources are home to dozens of threatened and endangered species, including West Indian manatees, whooping cranes, Mississippi sandhill cranes, wood storks and four species of sea turtles.
Although so far oiled wildlife recovered has been minimal, we expect the number to increase.
From the US Fish and Wildlife Service, posted here 6/24.




The Road Ahead for the Gulf Coast

Kandy Stroud, President, Stroud Communications
Posted: June 24, 2010 04:54 PM

Heart wrenching pictures of oil-coated crabs and poisoned pelicans, black tar balls washing up on white sugar sands and endless live shots of the underwater geyser spewing millions of gallons of toxic plumes into the ocean have fixated our collective attention on the current misery in the Gulf but not the future. Those pictures and non-stop interviews with PR savvy spokesmen have tugged at our emotions but shifted the focus away from possibly permanent effects that lie in the road ahead. Some of the pain has been mitigated momentarily by BP promising to "make things right" as they hawk their $20 billion fund designed not just to help pay off but also to silence locals whose lives have been destroyed. All the while, each of their hat tricks has failed to stop the devastation; plumes the size of underwater states are eradicating sea life and the spill crawls inexorably up the East Coast.

Meanwhile the molasses-slow attempts of the White House to mollify worried Americans with useless photo-ops of the president scooping up tarred sand or lambasting no one in particular with tough guy crude remarks about kicking someone's behind or pontificating from the Oval Office have only temporarily blotted out the unfolding ecological disaster and helped to blur a clear vision of the fate that lies ahead for the citizens of the coast and possibly for the entire country. The truth might be too painful. :::snip:::

...Now the oil is killing the coral reefs ...

...And then there are the grasses. ...

And then there's the Corexit. BP has poured 185,000 gallons of dispersant onto the out-of-control wellhead (plus 800,000 on the surface) ...

A longer term problem is the health of the men and women who are trying to clean up the mess. ...

There is also the cost of the moratorium on off shore drilling. ...

So it's not a question of can the oceans can take any more. The ocean can't take any more. They couldn't take any more fifty years ago."

Is it any wonder no one is talking about the future?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kandy-stroud/the-road-ahead-for-the-gu_b_624726.html

Δ


BP Is Pursuing Alaska Drilling That Some Call Risky
By IAN URBINA

Published: June 23, 2010 — ... But about three miles off the coast of Alaska, BP is moving ahead with a controversial and potentially record-setting project to drill two miles under the sea and then six to eight miles horizontally to reach what is believed to be a 100-million-barrel reservoir of oil under federal waters.
:::snip:::
The project has already received its state and federal environmental permits, but BP has yet to file its final application to federal regulators to begin drilling, which it expects to start in the fall.

Some scientists and environmentalists say that other factors have helped keep the project moving forward.

Rather than conducting their own independent analysis, federal regulators, in a break from usual practice, allowed BP in 2007 to write its own environmental review for the project as well as its own consultation documents relating to the Endangered Species Act, according to two scientists from the Alaska office of the federal Mineral Management Service that oversees drilling.

The environmental assessment was taken away from the agency’s unit that typically handles such reviews, and put in the hands of a different division that was more pro-drilling, said the scientists, who discussed the process because they remained opposed to how it was handled.

“The whole process for approving Liberty was bizarre,” one of the federal scientists said.

The scientists and other critics say they are worried about a replay of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico because the Liberty project involves a method of drilling called extended reach that experts say is more prone to the types of gas kicks that triggered the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.

“It makes no sense,” said Rebecca Noblin, the Alaska director for the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental watchdog group. “BP pushes the envelope in the gulf and ends up causing the moratorium. And now in the Arctic they are forging ahead again with untested technology, and as a result they’re the only ones left being allowed to drill there.”

BP has defended the project in its proposal, saying it is safe and environmentally friendly. It declined to respond to requests for further comment.

:::snip:::

If approved, the Liberty will be the longest horizontal well of its kind in the world. BP’s production plan for the Liberty notes that drilling studies only support horizontal wells up to 8.33 miles. Any horizontal wells longer than that, the plan says, “have not been studied.”

State regulators have faulted BP for not being prepared to handle a spill at a similar, though less ambitious project, known as the Northstar field. That project involves vertical drilling and sits on an artificial island six miles northwest of Prudhoe Bay in the Beaufort Sea. :::snip:::

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/us/24rig.html?src=twt&twt=nytimes


Pelicans rehabbed from oil spill released in Texas

(AP) – ROCKPORT, Texas — More than five dozen brown pelicans rehabilitated after being contaminated by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been released in Texas.

The 62 pelicans arrived on Coast Guard cargo planes on Wednesday and were taken to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which is about 175 miles south of Houston. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other groups released the pelicans and one Northern Gannet, another seabird.

Wednesday's release was the largest to date since the offshore oil rig exploded on April 20, triggering the massive oil spill.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Nancy Brown says the refuge was chosen because it has the coastal habitat the pelicans need and was already home to a population of brown pelicans.
© 2010 The Associated Press. (photos) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hYNTDOsq4yhSsd7JQjC_7qPLQ2SQD9GH71680

Δ


Spectacle of oil-soaked pelicans can motivate changed behavior

Honolulu Star Advertiser by Susan Scott

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 21, 2010 — Pictures of oil-soaked pelicans are everywhere these days, and if seeing those suffering, bedraggled birds coming ashore from the Gulf of Mexico isn't heartbreaking enough, we now hear that washing them may be a waste of time and money. Few birds, some sources say, survive the stress.

That certainly was the thinking in 1997. In January of that year, I wrote in this column about two new studies showing poor survival rates of oiled seabirds that had been cleaned, fed, rested and released. Only about 10 percent of pelicans could be found later, and even fewer of the smaller seabirds survived.

In the 13 years following, though, we've had more oil spills and more chances to study washed birds. As veterinarians and biologists gained knowledge, results got better. After a spill in South Africa in 2000, the survival rate for rehabilitated penguins and gannets (seabirds similar to our booby birds) was about 80 percent.

In North American studies, cleaned western gulls did as well as nonoiled western gulls, and washed snowy plovers had a high rate of breeding success. As for brown pelicans: Their post-washing recovery rate has been an encouraging 50 to 80 percent.

:::snip:::

You can help the Gulf's birds by supporting the International Bird Rescue and Research Center, www.ibrrc.org. The site offers up-to-date information on rescue efforts, and shows encouraging before-and-after pictures.

Susan Scott can be reached at www.susanscott.net.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/columnists/20100621_spectacle_of_oil_soaked_pelicans_can_motivate_changed_behavior.html


If Rahm quits, what will become of the 'West Wing' White House?

By Alexandra Petri
June 21, 2010—

...Now look at this mess.

Oil continues to spill into the gulf, generating huge volumes of oil-related coverage and reproachful-looking pelicans, the dramatic underwater-claw solution failed, and President Obama is wandering around looking for an "ass to kick" between bouts of golf. This is not what President Bartlet would have done. He would have spoken reasonably to the oil and persuaded it to go back into the earth, leaving only an apologetic note and some blueprints for efficient windmills. Thus curing the energy crisis, he would have walked back to shore on the water while trumpets blared. This is what we have come to expect, and the Obama administration is not delivering. :::snip:::

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/06/if_rahm_quits_what_will_become.html


Oil Leak Update:BP Is Burning Oil And Turtles
BY RoyEisner
New Orleans : LA : USA | Jun 21, 2010

Day 63 of the oil leak disaster in the Gulf and some disturbing news, of course about BP. Because BP has not prepared with enough tankers, they are burning off excess oil on the surface of the water. The problem that is developing is that some endangered turtles are being cooked alive. Add to that the high temperatures are also cooking to death the oil soaked brown pelicans , which were just removed from the endangered list. BP seems to be on a path to make both the turtles and brown pelicans extinct. :::snip:::

BP has said in an internal document that 100,000 barrels of oil could leak in the Gulf per day if the blowout preventer and wellhead were removed. BP says it probably is leaking 60,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf per day. This however was a document from Mid-May when BP was claiming that 1,000 barrels of oil were leaking per day.

State Senators and TV personality Sarah Palin are calling for a Day of Prayer to ask God to stop the oil leak, since BP does not seem capable of doing so. It would be nice, but I think that God helps those who help themselves. Besides, God did not cause this, BP did. And....it should be noted that not one walrus has died. The polar bears so far are ok too. But, BP has big plans in the Arctic Region to drill where we have never drilled before. So far, The Obama Administration has not made a move to stop it.

:::snip:::

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/6129463-oil-leak-updatebp-is-burning-oil-and-turtles

Δ


BP ‘burning sea turtles alive’
Published on 06-20-2010

Source: Raw Story
A rare and endangered species of sea turtle is being burned alive in BP's controlled burns of the oil swirling around the Gulf of Mexico, and a boat captain tasked with saving them says the company has blocked rescue efforts.
Mike Ellis, a boat captain involved in a three-week effort to rescue as many sea turtles from unfolding disaster as possible, says BP effectively shut down the operation by preventing boats from coming out to rescue the turtles.
"They ran us out of there and then they shut us down, they would not let us get back in there," Ellis said in an interview with conservation biologist Catherine Craig.

Part of BP's efforts to contain the oil spill are controlled burns. Fire-resistant booms are used to corral an area of oil, then the area within the boom is lit on fire, burning off the oil and whatever marine life may have been inside.
"Once the turtles get in there they can't get out," Ellis said.

Dr. Brian Stacey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told NPR last week that, although there are five different species of sea turtle in the Gulf of Mexico, the majority of the ones found affected by the oil spill are Kemp's Ridleys, "the rarest of them all."

Ellis confirmed that he's mostly been seeing Kemp's Ridleys.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/?news_id=9363

See also:
On Burning Sea Turtles Alive
— By Jen Phillips| Fri Jun. 18, 2010 4:03 PM PDT

Audubon's Burnette said the baby turtles being rehabed by her organization are "doing great, and we can take more." Likely, Audubon will take in more turtles... once the temporary suspension of rescue efforts has been lifted. UC Davis's Dr. Mike Ziccardi announced that turtle rescues in the Gulf have been suspended for a few days so that crews can rest up, boats can be re-supplied, and rescue teams can "more fully develop a comprehensive plan which will have greater results as this spill continues to unfold." Dr. Pincetich is waiting impatiently for the suspension to be lifted. "There are a dozen turtle rehab organizations waiting to get in sea mode," he says. "They've got donations, a laundry list of helpers, so why are we waiting? We can help."

http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/06/burning-sea-turtles-alive


A Texas transfer for oiled pelicans
38 brown pelicans - rescued from the oil spill - gladdened their rescuers as they quickly took to their new home

By LYNN BREZOSKY, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS
June 20, 2010, 11:12PM

ARANSAS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE — Tentative wing-flapping led to graceful soaring and convivial preening Sunday as 38 brown pelicans rescued from the worst oil mess in U.S. history explored new digs in the blue-green waters of San Antonio Bay.

"They're Texas birds right now," said Dan Alonso, project leader for the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Complex and host for the largest release to date of birds rehabilitated from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the first in Texas.

It had been a long morning for the pelicans, which - along with a single tern - made two long road trips and a two-hour flight in the belly of a U.S. Coast Guard HC-144 transport plane cramped up in dog carriers. :::snip:::
Social by nature

Aransas is already home to brown pelicans, and is one of 10 sites in Texas being considered for relocations of what biologists call the "pelican oil spill." Pelicans so far dominate the list of birds collected in the past two months in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana, which numbered 665 alive and 212 dead as of late last week.

Pelicans are social by nature, and the oil seeped their way as they gathered to nest. About 200 more pulled from muck in Alabama and Louisiana are reaching the stage where they can be released into the wild, and officials anticipating an eastward spread of the oil are looking west. :::snip:::

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/deepwaterhorizon/7063565.html

From Marsh Grass to Manatees: The Next Wave of Life Endangered by BP’s Oil

...The Little Guys

Large animals produce devastating pictures during a disaster like the BP oil spill. But those large creatures rely on something far less visible to us—the small creatures and plants at the bottom of the food chain—and those might be the most vulnerable of all to the oil, according to ecologist John Caruso.

In particular, the cord and Spartina grasses that grow on the coast of Louisiana are crucial to the ecosystem and especially sensitive to the oil leak, Caruso said. These grasses form the foundation of the local food chain, and their root systems lessen the erosion of the small islands that protect inland Louisiana from hurricanes, Caruso said. :::snip:::

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/06/21/from-marsh-grass-to-manatees-the-next-wave-of-life-endangered-by-bps-oil/

If you want more fuel for anger, check out the lengthy investigation in yesterday’s New York Times about what BP, its contractors, and the government knew about the weakness of the blowout preventer and other failed systems. ....

Regulators Failed to Address Risks in Oil Rig Fail-Safe Device: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21blowout.html?ref=todayspaper

...An examination by The New York Times highlights the chasm between the oil industry’s assertions about the reliability of its blowout preventers and a more complex reality. It reveals that the federal agency charged with regulating offshore drilling, the Minerals Management Service, repeatedly declined to act on advice from its own experts on how it could minimize the risk of a blind shear ram failure.

It also shows that the Obama administration failed to grapple with either the well-known weaknesses of blowout preventers or the sufficiency of the nation’s drilling regulations even as it made plans this spring to expand offshore oil exploration.

“What happened to all the stakeholders — Congress, environmental groups, industry, the government — all stakeholders involved were lulled into a sense of what has turned out to be false security,” David J. Hayes, the deputy interior secretary, said in an interview. :::snip:::


Monitoring the Manatee for Oil Ills

By JOHN LELAND
Published: June 20, 2010

APALACHICOLA, Fla. — To the people who know her best, Bama is a skittish creature: smart, a good traveler, does not mix much with her peers. On a recent afternoon, Allen Aven watched her from an anchored pontoon boat, counting the time between her breaths. ...

Mr. Aven is part of a team of researchers from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama who are monitoring Bama and other manatees — massive aquatic mammals that are on the list of endangered species — for signs that they are being affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Aven and Nicole Taylor gathered water samples and recorded that Bama appeared to be eating regularly — she weighs in at around 1,200 pounds — and was not discolored, a sign of infection.

Until recently, biologists believed that manatees rarely ventured west of peninsular Florida, where, so far, no oil has appeared. But in 2007, Ruth Carmichael, who leads the Dauphin Island team, began documenting a relatively large summer migration of manatees to Mobile Bay, Ala. — leading them directly into and through the path of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak. From a couple of dozen to as many as 100 come to Mobile Bay for the summer, out of a total North American population of 5,000, she said. :::snip:::

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21manatee.html?ref=us

Δ


And Dolphins: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10346092.stm


The importance of saving oil covered birds

by Alicia M Prater PhD

Newsweek asked the question “should we clean oiled animals?” in early June 2010. The premise is that it may be more humane to put the oil covered creatures out of their misery than to torture them with the stress of capture and soap scrubs when their futures are so uncertain anyway – they have lost their habitats, their nests, and possibly their health. However, saving the animals that can be cleaned is an important step in limiting the already widespread devastation caused by an oil spill, particularly for endangered species and those with limited habitats.

In the first 8 weeks of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 800 birds and 350 turtles were counted as dead, 400 of which were Brown Pelicans. This is a far cry from the immense scope of death experienced after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in the 1980s, when a quarter of a million birds were reported to have died, but marine biologists seem certain that the number of actual dead in the Gulf during that time was much higher. Oiled birds were seen to exhibit odd behavior, retreating into the marshes, probably to die and sink.

The Brown Pelican, this small species of pelican, the only one to swoop into the water for fish, was a success story for species surviving from the brink of extinction, but it has become a symbol of the damage inflicted by the 2010 Gulf spill. :::snip:::

http://www.helium.com/items/1865183-saving-oiled-birds

Δ


A truly beautiful and important piece:

Audubon Oil Spill Response Team Update: Status of bird rescue efforts
By Melanie Driscoll
06/18/2010

I have heard many concerns and rumors about the field rescue of birds, and want to give some of my own perspective on it. I was out in Barataria Bay, which had received very heavy oiling a week previously, on Saturday, June 11. I went with a field rescue team from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

We went out to several islands and slowly circumnavigated each, searching through the visible birds with binoculars from outside the boom placed to protect the islands. We went to some small, grassy islands with nesting Forster’s Terns, Laughing Gulls, and Tricolored Herons. We also went to an island that is completely covered in mangroves, full of Brown Pelicans, Great Egrets, and a few Roseate Spoonbills, Reddish Egrets, and Black-crowned Night-Herons. And we visited Queen Bess Island, one of the most important Brown Pelican rookeries, also full of Laughing Gulls, Royal Terns, spoonbills, Great and Snowy Egrets, and Tricolored Herons. We visited several of the islands three times that day, and saw how conditions differ between low and high tide, and how much can change between visits.

My greatest source of concern for something that can be managed was the inappropriate management of boom. :::snip:::

The self-protective escape of chicks would put many more clean young into the oil, the very threat from which we threatening humans are trying to rescue them. How many must be oiled before it is worth risking the rest of the young?

...The very features, both of birds and of their habitats, that normally protect them from threats, now put them more at risk by helping the birds evade their would-be rescuers.

I am sorry that I cannot right this wrong. These decisions are the decisions no one should have to make. Do we sacrifice individuals to help protect the health of the species? Do we abandon oiled young so that some unoiled young may have more days to grow up and hopefully fledge? Humans play this waiting game, often helpless observers, occasionally heroic rescuers, knowing that these are the decisions they cannot make well. We must all live with those decisions, those images burned into our minds. We must witness the suffering of the individuals, knowing that even the best decisions may not prevent more suffering of the species.

I want to tell you that we can fix it – the field rescue teams, the volunteer facilitators, the land transport teams, the vets, the vet techs, the paraprofessionals. I wish I could tell you that we can do this, and do it well. But we can only do it as well as humans can, without perfect insight, without an ability to change disaster or biology, without the advantage of foreknowledge or hindsight. The only way to fix this is to put the protections in place to ensure that it never happens again. And right now, for many of us, and for many birds, that is not enough.

http://magblog.audubon.org/audubon-oil-spill-response-team-update-status-bird-rescue-efforts

Here's the link to the All Things Considered audio: Conservationist: Rescuing Birds Puts Many At Risk: <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127937267>


Gulf Oil Full Of Methane, Adding New Concerns
by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

(with AP pictures of oil seen in the deep recesses of marshland in the northern reaches of Barataria Bay, La., Thursday, June 17, 2010.)

NEW ORLEANS June 18, 2010, 10:23 am ET
It is an overlooked danger in the oil spill crisis: The crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico's fragile ecosystem.

The scientists found that some parts of the plume had oxygen concentrations just shy of the level that tips ocean waters into the category of "dead zone" — a region uninhabitable to fish, crabs, shrimp and other marine creatures.

Kessler has encountered similar findings. Since he began his on-site research on Saturday, he said he has already found oxygen depletions of between 2 percent and 30 percent in waters 1,000 feet deep.

Shallow waters are normally more susceptible to oxygen depletion. Because it is being found in such deep waters, both Kessler and Joye do not know what is causing the depletion and what the impact could be in the long- or short-term. :::snip:::

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard signaled a shift in strategy Friday to fight the oil, saying it was ramping up efforts to capture the crude closer to shore.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said an estimated 2,000 private boats in the so-called "vessels of opportunity" program will be more closely linked through a tighter command and control structure to direct them to locations less than 50 miles offshore to skim the oil. Allen, the point man for the federal response to the spill, previously had said surface containment efforts would be concentrated much farther offshore.
————
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127901771

Also:

How the ultimate BP Gulf disaster could kill millions
by Terrence Aym

Disturbing evidence is mounting that something frightening is happening deep under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico—something far worse than the BP oil gusher.

Warnings were raised as long as a year before the Deepwater Horizon disaster that the area of seabed chosen by the BP geologists might be unstable, or worse, inherently dangerous.

What makes the location that Transocean chose potentially far riskier than other potential oil deposits located at other regions of the Gulf? It can be summed up with two words: methane gas. :::anip:::

http://www.helium.com/items/1864136-how-the-ultimate-bp-gulf-disaster-could-kill-millions


The effect of the oil spill on Louisiana's State Bird, the brown pelican
June 17, 9:15 AMNew Orleans Headlines ExaminerKaren Gros

... With the beaches and marshes now invaded by globs of oil, the pelicans, now in the middle of their nesting season, are doomed.

Pictures are shown on local television stations daily of rescue missions of brown pelicans, other sea birds, turtles, and dolphins which have washed ashore covered in oil either covered in oil or dead. It is very sad to see those poor birds with feathers soaked in oil, or worse dead. The oil coating weighs the birds down to where many can't fly or hunt for food and they just lie there until their last breath.
...
Fort Jackson has seen the most oiled birds brought in. To date they have received 470 live birds at the rescue station and approximately 400 dead birds. Other rescue stations in Louisiana have only collected about 30 live birds.

At this time we can only hope that the brown pelican population won't be wiped out by this oil spill. The brown pelicans were just removed from the Endangered Species List last November. The progress made toward that effort has now been wiped out by millions of gallons of oil invading the Gulf of Mexico.

http://www.examiner.com/ — http://tinyurl.com/363u2y7


Greenpeace: Will Gulf Spill 'Endanger' Brown Pelican Again? (video)

AssociatedPress — June 16, 2010 — Greenpeace says officials haven't even scratched the surface on the number of animal deaths caused by the Gulf oil spill. One marine biologist tells the AP so many brown pelicans have died the bird may go back on to the endangered species list.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrdWFofVMy8

Δ


Don't Just Watch the Disaster in the Gulf Unfold, Do Something to Help
by Sarah Hodgdon, Sierra Club on 06.17.10

oiled pelican floating in the Gulf of Mexico
oiled pelican by julie dermansky photo
A Brown Pelican covered in oil floats in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Julie Dermansky.

If you're like me, you might be getting tired of seeing all the terrible images of the BP oil disaster and not being able to do anything about it.

Well the Sierra Club's got something for you: How about getting your friends and family together to watch our new DVD on the oil spill and discuss how to end our country's oil addiction?

We are partnering with Brave New Films and award-winning filmmaker Robert Greenwald—producer of Outfoxed and Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price—to produce a short documentary about the true effects that the BP oil disaster is having on the Gulf Coast, and why we need to end our addiction to oil.

For more info: treehugger.com – http://tinyurl.com/37apgxn


Movin' on with Nellie: Just plug the sticky black oil gusher ALREADY!
BY: Nelda Curtiss

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 16th, 2010 — Audubon members numbering 22,000 volunteer to assist with wild bird clean up along the coast, says their website at http://www.audubon.org/campaign/advisory/advisory1006.html

But last night CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported that the state of Louisiana and British Petroleum (BP) were keeping them out. Devastating looks at the brown pelican habitat on the same 360 news show revealed how workers had stomped through the nesting area of the endangered pelican and killed hatchlings, parent pelicans and crushed eggs.

For those very reasons, we need to have trained volunteers from the Audubon deployed there as well.

Thankfully the Audubon has deployed their 22,000 volunteers elsewhere along the Gulf. On their website, I learned that volunteers are screened for special skills and they “identify and mark fragile coastal areas to protect habitats and nesting areas from damage as clean-up operations.”

:::snip:::

Quite frankly, this operation is the most critical in our history as a nation. The Audubon still needs volunteers. The volunteers staff the coordinating center and help to schedule pick-ups and other responses. Some volunteers survey the coast for all species of birds and document by photographing and videotaping the birds. Some volunteers transport oiled birds to the cleanup facilities.

Still other volunteers work in the capture of oiled and wounded birds by making nets, and cages to help trained rescuers. There’s even a Citizen Science Monitoring group of volunteers that collect digital images or videos of nesting areas, habitat and other sightings of birds-these photographic images then in turn help the scientists to analyze how the oil catastrophe is impacting the birds’ habitats.

Another set of Audubon volunteers staff bird hotlines by responding to questions of handling, sightings and species identification.

The Audubon has invited you to be part of their next web cast: “If you want to hear the latest on Audubon’s response to the oil spill, join [the] next webcast [at http://register.webcastgroup.com/l3/?wid=0650623105251 ] on June 23, 1:30 PM Eastern Time/10:30 AM Pacific Time.”

http://www.alamosanews.com/v2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=74&story_id=17031

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What's Really Happening In Grand Isle Louisiana - You Won't Believe This!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RPrtxFa5R4


Oil Spill Forces Animals To Flee To Shallow Water Off Coast, Scientists Warn Of 'Mass Die-Off'

JAY REEVES, JOHN FLESHER and TAMARA LUSH | 06/16/10 11:44 PM | AP

June 17, 2010 — GULF SHORES, Ala. — Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water just off the Florida coast. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again.

Marine scientists studying the effects of the BP disaster are seeing some strange phenomena.

Fish and other wildlife seem to be fleeing the oil out in the Gulf and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast in a trend that some researchers see as a potentially troubling sign.

The animals' presence close to shore means their usual habitat is badly polluted, and the crowding could result in mass die-offs as fish run out of oxygen. Also, the animals could easily be devoured by predators.

"A parallel would be: Why are the wildlife running to the edge of a forest on fire? There will be a lot of fish, sharks, turtles trying to get out of this water they detect is not suitable," said Larry Crowder, a Duke University marine biologist.

The nearly two-month-old spill has created an environmental catastrophe unparalleled in U.S. history as tens of millions of gallons of oil have spewed into the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Scientists are seeing some unusual things as they try to understand the effects on thousands of species of marine life.

Day by day, scientists in boats tally up dead birds, sea turtles and other animals, but the toll is surprisingly small given the size of the disaster. The latest figures show that 783 birds, 353 turtles and 41 mammals have died – numbers that pale in comparison to what happened after the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989, when 250,000 birds and 2,800 otters are believed to have died.

Researchers say there are several reasons for the relatively small death toll: The vast nature of the spill means scientists are able to locate only a small fraction of the dead animals. Many will never be found after sinking to the bottom of the sea or getting scavenged by other marine life. And large numbers of birds are meeting their deaths deep in the Louisiana marshes where they seek refuge from the onslaught of oil.

"That is their understanding of how to protect themselves," said Doug Zimmer, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. :::snip:::

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/16/oil-spill-forces-animals-_n_615003.html

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Miles Grant, National Wildlife Federation communications manager
Posted: June 16, 2010 12:28 PM

Gulf Wildlife Hotline Hilarity: "What's the Nearest Major Intersection?" (VIDEO)

National Wildlife Federation staffers called the Deepwater Horizon Response hotline yesterday to report oiled wildlife. Neither came away hopeful at getting much of a response.

The call center is located more than 400 miles away from the spill site in Houston, TX -- not coincidentally, where BP America is headquartered. The operator's distance from the disaster & seeming unfamiliarity with it made relating the incidents nearly impossible.

Here's the first story from one National Wildlife Federation staffer:

Hotline Operator: "Deepwater Horizon Response"

NWF: "Hi, I'm out in Barataria Bay, and I'm calling to report an oiled brown pelican that we found."

Hotline: (pause) "This is the Deepwater Horizon Response official hotline."

NWF: "Yes, this is the oiled wildlife hotline number given on the website? I'm calling to report oiled wildlife."

Hotline: "What?" :::snip:::

for the rest of the transcript: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-grant/gulf-wildlife-hotline-hil_b_614377.html


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