NWF Tours Louisiana Nesting Grounds Hit Hard by BP Oil Spill

Visible effects on wildlife increase as oil from the spill makes its way onto Louisiana's shores

05-26-2010 // Aislinn Maestas
International Bird Rescue

A team of National Wildlife Federation staff and board members are on a second tour of the Gulf cost this week, visiting areas devastated by the BP oil spill, talking to people impacted by the unfolding tragedy, and reporting back what they are seeing.

"Honestly, I expected to see booms protecting critical island nesting habitats and people maintaining those booms," said National Wildlife Federation Senior Scientist Doug Inkley. "But instead, I saw booms drifting around and breaking apart, oil ashore on the islands, and no responders or boats anywhere to be seen."

In addition to Inkley, National Wildlife Federation president & CEO, Larry Schweiger, and National Wildlife Federation board member and actress, Gloria Reuben, have been taking reporters out on chartered boat tours from Louisiana's Venice Marina.

On Tuesday’s trip, Inkley described seeing a brown pelican with its wings dirtied by heavy brown oil. The bird was preening in an attempt to clean itself off. More pelicans were diving for fish not far from patches of "dispersed" oil.

"That bird now faces double jeopardy," Inkley said. "Even if it cleans itself and avoids hypothermia, it could be poisoned by the oil it swallows in the process."

Today, the team is leading a day long boat trip in an effort to get close to the Deepwater Horizon site. Joining the trip are LSU researcher Dr. Kevin Boswell, FSU biological oceanographer Dr. Ian McDonald, and LSU professor emeritus Dr. Edward Overton. The team hopes to reveal new details on the oil and dispersant impacts below the water's surface.

Video: Dr. Doug Inkley reports from Coastal Louisiana

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