Oil Spill Surveillance Teams Report Back from Gulf

NWF Volunteers Scour Gulf Coast to Identify Oil Spill Impacts

07-06-2010 // Aislinn Maestas

As part of our response to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, National Wildlife Federation and our partners have signed up and trained hundreds of volunteers to be part of our Gulf Coast Surveillance Teams.

These volunteer observers play a critical role in spotting distressed and dead wildlife and helping to document the effects of the oil spill on waters, wetlands and beaches. Importantly, as more teams are formed along the thousands of miles of the Gulf coast, they can help identify new places where signs of the oil spill appear.

Here is a sampling from several of the reports the surveillance teams have sent back to National Wildlife Federation:

Oil on a Hermit Crab in Grand Isle in Louisiana

Karen Blackburn – Grand Isle, LA

There are thousands of dead hermit crabs along the beach (see photo left)…others are struggling to breath and trying to climb up an oil soaked rock jetty in Grand Isle State Park East. The splattered oil looks like dripping death on the rocks for all of the wildlife. Saw several seagulls...some with oiled heads, oiled eyes and beaks and some normal.

Had wanted to survey Fouchon Beach in Fouchon, LA. The Port Authority for the Parish turned me back and had me go to the Port Authority Office. I was told there that LA Wildlife & Fisheries had already been on that beach. Also told NOT to come back without a Federal or State Official. Finding areas will prove to be difficult.....LA is "devoted" to the oil industry here.
 

Sally Williams – Cocodrie, LA

I went to Cocodrie, LA this past Saturday hoping to catch a ride out to the Gulf. What I found was a town that was nearly empty except for a strong BP presence. The charter boats were all hired out by BP according to a local I spoke to. They are getting $600-$900 a day whether they go out or not. I was happy they aren't going broke but also aware that it was a way to keep people like me from going out to the marsh. No boats to hire.

I stopped and talked to a few locals fishing off the road and they said nothing has been biting for days. The three hours spent in Cocodrie were eerie since I only saw one heron, two black birds, and one duck. So quiet it sent chills up my spine.
 

Oil on Wakulla Beach in Florida

Caryl Kilinski - St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL

The high tide created tidal creeks which contained oil sheen (see photo right). Initially, I thought that the oil was the result of a spill from a local boat, but as I continued to walk, it seemed that the amount of oil was greater than that which would come from a boat. Also, it looked different than the oil typically seen around marinas or boat launches. I reported the presence of the oil to the Rapid Response Team at 866-448-5816.
 

Darlene Eschete – Grand Isle, LA

Today I was in Grand Isle and tried to get onto Elmer's Island but was told I needed a badge from BP. I went to the command post as instructed and the wildlife and fisheries safety manager told me I had to make some phone calls to Houma Command post to hook up with the head volunteer agency on Grand Isle???...To gain access to remote areas where the birds are, I would need a BP badge. Same goes for the end of Pointe-aux-Chenes. Cocodrie I was able to access the end and behind LUMCON (a state agency building) a few day ago, but things change like night and day around here....they are always beefing up security or snatching up more land so you can't gain access.
 

Farrar Brown – Louisiana coast

The two dolphins were very close to shore and clearly struggling to swim; they would roll over on their side and were barely able to roll themselves back over. In the area where the dolphins were seen, we were told that area had already been cleaned of oil, but the dolphins appeared to have a significant amount of oil on them.

Made many attempts to call in the dolphin observations and was never able to get through.

 

Find out more about NWF's Gulf Coast Surveillance Teams >>

Get Our E-Newsletter 
Connecting...
Help Wildlife. Symbolically adopt an animal today!