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Re: Marsh spoiled so we can have plastic


US energy secretary says hopes rising over oil spill

HOUSTON, Texas — Hopes of containing the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are rising, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Wednesday after meeting top engineers and scientists at a BP command center.

Chu, a Nobel prize-winning physicist, spoke as crews were adding the finishing touches to a containment box on the sea bed that will be placed over the main leak to potentially contain the gushing oil.

"Things are looking up," Chu told reporters in Houston, Texas. "Progress is being made."

He cautioned that the situation is still not under control and declined to detail the reasons for his optimism.


http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jWQnXJZEDk3K54wX0XUSvi-VopJw

Let's hope his optimism is not ill-founded. I'm guessing this is the reason for it:

BP officials said they had placed a new "top hat" containment dome on the sea floor near the main leak off Louisiana's coast.

The concrete and steel dome — 4 feet in diameter and 5 feet tall — will be lowered over the main leaking pipe, and the oil captured inside will be pumped to a barge on the surface.

The "top hat" strategy is similar to BP's failed effort to place a 78-ton steel and concrete cofferdam the size of a four-story house over the pipe and into the sea floor.

That dome, which was lowered into the Gulf last week, failed to contain the leak after it filled with methane hydrate crystals that clogged a 12-inch opening at the top and made the dome too buoyant to form a watertight seal against the sea floor.

The new dome already has "umbilical cords" attached to pump methanol into it, which will help reduce the formation of crystals, said Mark Proegler, a BP spokesman.

To further avoid the buildup of crystals, crews will attach a drill pipe to the "top hat" before placing it over the leak.

"The plan is for that to be operational by the end of the week," Proegler said.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/makes+attempt+Gulf+leak+details+point+cause/3018737/story.html#ixzz0nkAMdfC5



Last edited by Katlin, May/12/2010, 2:06 pm
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Re: Marsh spoiled so we can have plastic


Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1971_TMF24-2010-05-12-1300.pdf

~This morning I noticed the wind had picked up, becoming a pretty stiff breeze. Worse, it was coming out of the south southeast, combining now with the current to push the spill west and north.

~News reports are saying investigations are showing multiple flaws in the failed BOP, stemming from both design modifications mandated by BP (and approved by the Dept. of Interior's office of MMS)and such failures as a hydraulic leak AND a dead battery.

~Tarballs are washing up on shore.

http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/Media-Center/News-by-Topic/Wildlife/2010/05-05-10-NWF-Eyewitness-Account-Oil-Sludge.aspx

~About the failure(s) of the BOP this is from NPR:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126433085

Tere
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Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1978_TMF24-2010-05-13-1300.pdf

Yesterday I read a news report to the effect that the oil spill cost to BP for the last three weeks is equivalent to 4 days of profit.

Today NPR reported that Transocean, owner of the Deephorizon rig, has asked a Houston judge to limit its liability for the disaster to $27 million. And this much only if negligence can be proved. The figure is not taken out of the air. It is based on a 19th C law saying that a ship wreck resulting in loss of personal life and property essentially is worth the cost of the ship itself. Deephorizon is said to be worth $27 million.

Meanwhile locals are trying to adjust to the new environment: a way of life on the Gulf gone for the forseeable future. Meanwhile fish, turtles, and dolphins are washing up on the shore mysteriously dead, causes unknown so far.

And this NPR report this minute, as I type:

the Coast Guard has revised its estimate of the amount of oil the broken pipe is spewing into the Gulf. Earlier it had said 5,000 barrels were spewing a day. Now it says 70,000 barrels a day. The 4 day equivalent of the Valdez spill. So every 4 days another Valdez spill. Every 4 days another Valdez spill and it has been 3 weeks since 20 April, the day of the rig explosion. It isn't just the Gulf that is screwed. The stream stretches up the Atlantic coast and reaches northern Europe. Planetary.

Tere
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Re: Marsh spoiled so we can have plastic


Let's be clear on something. The Gulf current.

http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/atlantic/gulf-stream.html

Tere
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Today's oil spill trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1988_TMF24-2010-05-14-1300.pdf

~A correction. The Coast Guard did not revise its estimate of the spill's daily spewing. The new estimate was made by scientists working independently and reporting to NPR.

~As of this afternoon tarballs have been reported on beaches as far east as Northwest Florida and as far west as Port Fourchon, LA. Or just west of Barataria Bay.

~A google search of the phrase oil dispersent took me to a solvent, highly toxic, called 2-butoxyethanol, about which Wiki tells me this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2-Butoxyethanol

It is bad stuff. Among other problems it can cause infertility. I also found the trade name "Corexit", a product in which the chemical is an ingredient. But I cannot be certain that the oil dispersent presently getting air dropped over and pumped into the spill contains the chemical. Patent laws protecting trademarked products trump public information.

~A friend, a molecular biologist, quit a high paying job today to take a temp position, and a pay cut, to work with oyster research and restoration on the Gulf. I suspect he will be at it for much longer than he thinks.

Tere
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Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1991_TMF24-2010-05-14-2000.pdf

The down side of these map projections is that they are not in 3-D. They do not give an idea of volume, of depth.

~An ornithologist friend has agreed to send me communiques, info he is getting, boots on the ground like. This is what is going on. This is what the media has not gotten to yet. Names have been edited out:

"...participated on surveys of Timbalier and East Timbalier islands
yesterday (5/14). Blobs of BP Deepwater Horizon oil were conspicuously
scattered along the length of the western 4-5 miles of the gulf beach of
main Timbalier Island. Much of the oil was coating "trash" that had been
washed ashore, human garbage as well as sargassum and other flotsam. But,
there were also small to large blobs of the distinctive reddish oil on the
sand itself. This stuff is commonly being referred to as "tar balls," but
it's really has more of a peanut butter consistency.

Along that stretch of Timbalier we had at least 22 out of 180 Sanderlings
with varying amounts of oil on their plumage. Do the math and that's 12% of
the Sanderlings that are oiled....... We saw one pair of American
Oystercatchers, and both had oil stains on their belly plumage. Most of the
oiled shorebirds were concentrated along the western 2 miles of the island
where there was also more oil present, so the percentage of oiled
Sanderlings along that stretch would be MUCH higher if I had kept a separate
tally. X also had one dead Northern Gannet that had oil on it, but
probably impossible to say whether it had succumbed to oil or had just
become oiled as it floated in the gulf. Interestingly, a separate team
working the eastern end of Timbalier Island did not report any oiled birds.
 None of the oiled shorebirds were moribund, but I would expect that all
will eventually perish without a trace- these sorts of small birds with
patchy oil contamination will likely just wander off and die horrible deaths
in inconspicuous places. I guess the only good news is that shorebird
migration will be gradually tapering off over the next few weeks, but
anticipate heavy casualties among our later migrant shorebird species and
summering populations of Red Knots and Short-billed Dowtichers. Anyway, if
we are getting these levels of bird contamination with tiny amounts of oil
hitting the islands, then.......

Moving over to East Timbalier Island, there was a fair amount of oil along
the gulf side and elsewhere on the island where there had been some recent
overwash. But, the only oiled bird that we saw there was a Royal Tern with
soiled back plumage.

A few noteworthy birds that helped to slightly offset the gloom included an
Osprey, a somewhat late Peregrine Falcon, two first-year Lesser Black-backed
Gulls (plus a 2-3 year bird at Grand Isle today), a couple of Mourning Doves
(migrants?), a couple of Belted Kingfishers, small numbers of migrant
swallows moving east into the wind (15-20 Banks, a Cliff, and about 60
Barns), lots of territorial Marsh Wrens, a female Blackpoll Warbler, a
Northern Waterthrush, and 10 Bobolinks (in ones and twos, only 2 males).

Additional surveys planned for today (Sat. 5/15) were cancelled due to rain
and high winds. Both Thursday night and Friday night at Grand Isle we were
treated to the stench of oil brought in by the strong SE winds. Elmer's
Island was open but there was constant truck traffic that made it less than
enjoyable. Some other LSU bird personnel were out there on separate
projects and may have more details on impacts associated with filling in
shoreline breaches near Caminada Pass and at the mouth of Bayou Von Thunder
 Considerable fill material is being brought in, but I shudder to think of
the disturbance to nesting plovers and Least Terns. We had 26 pairs of
Wilson's Plovers there last Friday, some of our highest densities anywhere
so far. Fourchon Beach was closed, with a road block before the bridge and
National Guard bulldozers and other heavy equipment everywhere. Presumably,
they are filling other breaches in the shoreline east of the beachhead to
protect the marshes."

Tere



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It is kind of confusing but birders are reporting higher than usual water levels in coastal marshes. The possibilitity is that canals and locks are getting opened (by the army corps of Engineers maybe) in an attempt to push back against the Gulf.

~ "can imagine that behind the Caminada Headland there might be longer
retention of water in the marshes as a result of shallow tidal pass
closures, but its complicated. I don't think though that any one thing could
explain the various high water stages you witnessed. Wind is the biggest
driver, its effects usually swamping the lunar tides.

The river is high and all the freshwater diversions have been opened up full
throttle in order to help keep a head on the estuaries and contribute,
however minimally, to keeping the oil out. The Davis Pond in St. Charles
Parish, and West Pointe a la Hache and Naomi diversions in Plaquemines,
which combined can put about 15-20,000 cubic feet per second into the
Barataria Estuary, are having an effect. I don't know the figures offhand,
but I believe that may account for two or three inches, which might be
especially noticeable at Des Allemands. I was in the Barataria Preserve
yesterday and the water was about a foot above normal, so wind had to be a
factor along with the river diversions. Nothing comparable is going into
Lake Pontchartrain (though I imagine Bonnet Carre is leaking with the high
water in the river--not sure what the leak rate there is??), and there is no
way to close the Rigolets or Chef Menteur, short of a Dutch type monstrosity
costing tens of billions and decades of work.

However, despite the garbled story in the media, there is no chance of
closing off Barataria, Timbalier, or Terrebonne bays. Patching a few shallow
hurricane cuts may keep oil out of the smaller embayments right behind the
barrier beaches, but the main passes are very deep (up to 60 feet), and
cannot be closed. Water will seek its level.

I fear that work such as what you saw at Elmer's may end up doing more harm
than good. We'll be quick to spend the money to haul in rip-rap, but who
will spend the money to haul it all out? And, as you point out, they may be
destroying many of the resources they are trying to protect."

~On a different note it seems we are additionally tearing up the beaches:

"
Thanks for the update X, despite how depressing it was. I was at Elmer's yesterday and Thursday with Y and Z. It was impossible to do any proper surveys of the beaches at Elmer's because the National Guard had torn up the beach to the point of making it too soft to drive on. There were strangely few birds feeding out in the Gulf and we saw no visual evidence of oil offshore or on any birds, but as you said the smell was strong. I find it implausible that any Wilson's Plover nests remain intact with the heavy disturbance of the humvees and backhoes. I saw one probably displaced female standing on the road that ran through the saltmarsh, not close to any good breeding habitat. As painful as it is, I would recommend visiting the coast to view the disaster unfolding."
May/16/2010, 1:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Finally, a turn of events:

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/massive-oil-plume-in-gulf-stretches-10-miles-long/19478982

Sort of good news. But the article also says the ooze has entered a current that will take it to the Florida Keys.

Can't shake this sense of dread.

Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/2000_TMF24-2010-05-16-1300.pdf

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, May/16/2010, 5:29 pm
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Re: Marsh spoiled so we can have plastic


What another bad day in the Gulf. A second oil rig has overturned. It wasn't in production or drilling. But all that fuel aboard. The site is close to Morgan City.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/30/louisiana-drilling-rig-ov_n_559221.html

Tere
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I've been thinking. Today's news, that the ooze may have already or will soon enter the Gulf's main loop current, sent me searching for maps and graphics. The Gulf's main loop current enters by way of the Straights of the Yucatan, continues up, loops around in a clockwise fashion until exiting out through the Florida Straights. From there the current follows along the coast as far north as Nova Scotia where it turns easterly into the North Atlantic.

So far the ooze has been pushed by currents traveling westward, which seems like a contradiction. But I found a site with graphics showing something called the Mississippi River flow. The river's flow creates its own current that turns sharply to the west along the coasts of LA and TX. The Deepwater Horizon was in waters 40 miles SE of the Mississippi's mouth, right where the continental shelf drops off dramatically and the waters are suddenly deeper. More to the point, the rig was in a kind of nexus between the Mississippi River flow (moving westerly) and the Gulf's main loop current, moving the other way.

If the spill is far out enough to get caught in the loop current, as seems might be the case, it will enexorably get caught up in the mighty Gulf Stream. It will pass through the Straights of Florida, move up the coast along the continental shelf, reach as far as Nova Scotia, spill out into the North Atlantic. And it will foul everything in its path, suffocating marine life to great depths.

Here I've been primarily worried about LA marshlands. It now seems possible, maybe likely, the marshlands will be spared the worst of the effects. And at a greater cost.

I've already given one NOAA map of the Gulf Stream current. Here is another site with graphics showing both the Mississippi River flow and the Gulf's main loop current. It illustrates my point.

http://www.utmsi.utexas.edu/beach_debris/content/pdf/gulf-loop-current.pdf

I've said before this spill is planetary in consequences. This makes the Valdez disaster look like a practice drill. Deepwater Horizon indeed.

Tere
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I think you're right, Tere. Despite reports that recent efforts to siphon the oil have been successful--too little, too late. Did you watch "60 Minutes" last night?

Hard to absorb/process all the possible consequences of this catastrophe. Hard to even accept that it's happening.

Chris
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Thank you, Chrisfriend, for putting up with my posts. Maybe this is my way of processing grief and wrapping the brain around the unfathonmable. I said upthread it has never been a question of if, only of when. When has arrived.

Early last week I posted a map showing the Gulf Stream current. Sometime mid-week I mentioned my fear to a scientist. He more or less discounted my concern as exaggerated. I stood up from the colony I was working, matter of factly saying, "The Gulf Stream carries everything." Now they are finding plumes of oil, one 10 miles long, deep below the surface and getting carried along by the Gulf Stream loop.

Somebody told me recently that 21 years after the Valdez disaster you can walk the shores of Prince William Sound, pick up a rock, and black crude stares back at you. They say a human generation is somewhere between 30 to 35 years. The Valdez spill still impacts the local environment almost a generation later. If the independent scientists are correct every 4 days Deepwater Horizon has dumped a Valdez into the Gulf. This since the 20th of April or two days later. Above I call the Gulf spill a planetary problem. Today I realize it is a generational problem. That's plural, likely into the next century.

Something else and partially said before. I was blown away to discover the same tech I observed off-shore in '76 is still relied upon. Then we worked in hundreds of feet of water. Now it's thousands. Same tech at immense depths of extreme temp and pressure. Add to this that it is clear in my mind there were engineering failures involved. Mathematical miscalculations. Misreadings of gauge-produced information. Timing misjudgements. Failure of equipment, even including a dead battery on the BOP no one bothered to check. And, I think, an over-reliance on out-dated technology.

A human failure in imagination so many species of fish, reptiles, crustaceans, mammals, and avian life will be paying for for the better part of the Century. How does one make peace with this?

Tere
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Trajectory for today:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/2006_TMF24-2010-05-17-1300.pdf

Yep. Notice the sudden, really dramatic, shift from the last several days, turning from west to east. It is in the Gulf loop. On its way to the Florida Straights.

Tere
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A human failure in imagination so many species of fish, reptiles, crustaceans, mammals, and avian life will be paying for for the better part of the Century. How does one make peace with this?

"This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

from Chief Seattle's Letter To All People
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Thank you, Katfriend. I've mentioned elsewhere and more than once what Jeffers had to say about what he called "human solipsism," what is really only another word for man's (and woman's) hubris. Every oil spill, every man-made disaster visited on nature, is an expression of hubris. I can't help but feel Chief Seattle divined what he saw would be the fate of nature in the hands.

Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/2012_TMF24-2010-05-18-1300.pdf

I almost feel guilty for having "seen" what was likely to happen last week, or how the spill would likely get caught up in the Gulf Loop current. The only good news I can find today is that the experts are starting to question the use of dispersents. Maybe if they had read what I posted upthread concerning the toxic nature of a dispersent's active ingredient (2-butoxyethanol), especially how it causes infertility, they would have stopped dumping it into the Gulf already. Frustrating. All very frustrating. I cannot express how much control I am using not to get angry at experts, engineers, corprorate managers, and authority.

Now for something else. I've mentioned I have an Audobon friend. He is an officer in the local chapter. He has agreed to forward any info he gets. Today he forwarded me four letters pointing to a certain ongoing discussion among birders involved in recovery efforts. The questions addressed are several: does the recovery effort, in general, work; what is the cost involved; who is in fact paying for it? As best as I can tell the collective answer is: nobody actually knows. Nobody has either funded or conducted the necessary studies. Nobody really knows if the oil companies, such as BP and Exxon, in actual fact cough up the cash. Incredible.

I am putting substantial portions of the letters up here. Some of the letters include links, which I hope come through. Names and addresses have been excised. I start with the earliest letter and follow sequentially, 1 through 4.

~Letter 1, a discussion on survivorship:

I've heard a variety of takes on this, mostly anecdotal. Survivorship
in the warm Gulf Coast should be a little higher, until it is too hot
and birds overheat. I will try to look into the literature a bit more
and will report back if I find any patterns. I do know it is species
dependent, and some species are unlikely to even be found to be taken
to a rescue center.





>
> The story below was posted to the Pacific Seabird Group list-serv
> last week and was forwarded to a few of us. I am not familiar with
> the literature so can't say if it is anomalous or if the author is
> biased. The story at least provides one perspective to your question
> and begs another. Is all the money and energy a palliative? Without
> that knowledge, many continue to work courageously to do what they
> can in hope that it will be helpful. I'm sure in many cases that
> will be true.
>
> Thinking about the cited study, I wonder if there are differences
> between the northern seas and the milder Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps the
> loss of insulation mortality is lower in warmer climes. Perhaps the
> oil composition is less toxic as the report from LSU suggests.
>
> Are rehabilitated birds being banded or fitted with geolocators?
> Considering how much money is being spent to clean them, it might
> make sense to fit them with geolocator harnesses to get an idea of
> post-rehabilitation survivorship.
>
> Until we know better, I'll report oiled birds to the hotline.
>

>
>
>
>
> To: pacificseabirds@lists.fws.gov
>
> ***
> **********************************************************************
> This is a message from the Pacific Seabird Group listservice. Use
> REPLY only if your message is of interest to the ENTIRE listservice.
> Otherwise, compose NEW message.
> ***
> **********************************************************************
>
> Der Spiegel
>
>
> May 6, 2010
>
> Gulf of Mexico Spill
>
> Expert Recommends Killing Oil-Soaked Birds
>
> A German biologist says that efforts to clean oil-drenched birds in
> the Gulf of Mexico are in vain. For the birds' sake, it would be
> faster and less painful if animal-rescue workers put them under, she
> says. Studies and other experts back her up.
>
> "Kill, don't clean," is the recommendation of a German animal
> biologist, who this week said that massive efforts to clean oil-
> soaked birds in Gulf of Mexico won't do much to stop a near certain
> and painful death for the creatures.
>
> Despite the short-term success in cleaning the birds and releasing
> them back into the wild, few, if any, have a chance of surviving,
> says Silvia Gaus, a biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park along
> the North Sea in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.
>
> "According to serious studies, the middle-term survival rate of oil-
> soaked birds is under 1 percent," Gaus says. "We, therefore, oppose
> cleaning birds."
>
> The oil spill -- which continues to pump more than 200,000 gallons
> (755,000 liters) of crude into the Gulf each day -- was caused by an
> April 20 explosion on a BP-operated oil rig about 50 miles off the
> Louisiana coast.
>
> In the path of the spill are several large protected areas for
> wildlife, including a vital nesting area for thousands of brown
> pelicans which were only removed from the US Endangered Species
> Program last year.
>
> Louisiana's Breton National Wildlife Refuge is by itself home to
> 34,000 birds. So far, the vast oil slick has yet to make significant
> landfall, limiting the numbers of birds affected, but observers
> worry that it is only a matter of time before beaches along
> America's Gulf Coast become blackened.
>
> Birds Will Eventually Perish from Long-Term Causes
>
> Catching and cleaning oil-soaked birds oftentimes leads to fatal
> amounts of stress for the animals, Gaus says. Furthermore, forcing
> the birds to ingest coal solutions -- or Pepto Bismol, as animal-
> rescue workers are doing along the Gulf Coast -- in an attempt to
> prevent the poisonous effects of the oil is ineffective, Gaus says.
> The birds will eventually perish anyway from kidney and liver damage.
>
> Gaus speaks from 20 years of experience, and she worked on the
> environmental cleanup of the Pallas -- a wood-carrying cargo ship
> that spilled 90 tons of oil in the North Sea after running aground
> in October of 1998. Around 13,000 birds drown, froze or expired due
> to stress as a result of the Pallas spill.
>
> Once covered in oil, a bird will use its bill and tongue to remove
> the toxic substance from their feathers. Despite oil's terrible
> taste and smell, a bird will still try and clean itself because it
> can't live without fluffy feathers that repel water and regulate its
> body temperature. "Their instinct to clean is greater than their
> instinct to hunt, and as long as their feathers are dirty with oil,
> they won't eat,"
> Gaus says.
>
>
>
> Kill Them 'Quickly and Painlessly'
>
> But it's the instinct of biologists, who often feel compelled to
> save the birds out of duty and ethical reasons, that will ultimately
> lead a bird to a worse death, say some. It would be better to let
> the birds die in peace, Gaus says, or kill them "quickly and
> painlessly."
>
> Even dyed-in-the-wool preservationists from the WWF agree with
> Gaus. At the time of the 2002 Prestige oil spill off the coast of
> Spain, a spokesman from the organization said: "Birds, those that
> have been covered in oil and can still be caught, can no longer be
> helped. … Therefore, the World Wildlife Fund is very reluctant to re
> commend cleaning."
>
> The Prestige spill killed 250,000 birds. Of the thousands that were
> cleaned, most died within a few days, and only 600 lived and were
> able to be released into the wild. According to a British study of
> the spill, the median lifespan of a bird that was cleaned and
> released was only seven days.
>
>
> URL:
> http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,693359,00.html
>
>
> ***
> *********************************************************************
> This is a message from the Pacific Seabird Group listservice. To
> subscribe, visit https://www.fws.gov/lists/listinfo/
> pacificseabirds. To unsubscribe, send an email to PacificSeabirds-request@lists.fws.gov
> . Enter "unsubscribe" in the subject field. Questions? Contact
> Verena Gill at verena_gill@fws.gov



~Letter 2:

I've looked into this some in the last few days from I can tell, the
results to your question regarding the effectiveness of cleaning oiled
birds are mixed. Benefits of rescue operations may be
species-specific, geographically specific, and depend on the extent
and duration of oiling on the organism. There is clearly no
consensus, but the studies of North American species with decent
sample sizes and effective analyses seem to suggest that
rehabilitating oiled birds still results in considerably reduced
long-term survival and/or breeding success.

There are few actual tests of this question, however. It would be
useful to have more studies on the effects of de-oiling rehabilitation
on long-term survival and future breeding success. LDWF or USFWS may
have decent Brown Pelican nest success data from SE LA, I'm not sure -
this may be a real good opportunity to study that system as many birds
have already been tagged. Are rehabilitated de-oiled birds being
tagged before release? If there are any LDWF/USFWS biologists are
reading this - I would be happy to talk about study designs in more
detail off-list.

Richard G. makes an excellent point - given what we spend to clean
wildlife, we need to study its effectiveness. Otherwise, we're just
making the oil companies look good (assuming they're paying for it)
and gives the media some "feel-good" stories. Is reality being
distorted?

Below, I've listed a bunch of papers from the scientific literature
that discuss the issue of cleaning oiled birds.

----------------------------------------------------
These are must reads if you are interested in the general issue:
- Jessup, D. A. 1998. Rehabilitation of oiled wildlife. Conservation
Biology 12:1153-1155.
https://filestogeaux.lsu.edu/public/download.php?FILE=ejohn33/73401gpH2G8

- Estes, J. A. 1998. Concerns about rehabilitation of oiled wildlife.
Conservation Biology 12:1156-1157.
https://filestogeaux.lsu.edu/public/download.php?FILE=ejohn33/5080M14O8g

- Briggs, K. T., M. E. Gershwin, and D. W. Anderson. 1997.
Consequences of petrochemical ingestion and stress on the immune
system of seabirds. Ices Journal of Marine Science 54:718-725.
https://filestogeaux.lsu.edu/public/download.php?FILE=ejohn33/30617TBAB9x

----------------------------------------------------
There are a number of studies that suggest reduced long-term survival
and/or reduced future breeding for rehabilitated oiled birds. I think
the ultimate question (and the toughest to answer) is "What is an
acceptable level of survival post-rehabilitation and what are we
willing to spend to achieve this?":

- Recent article published in Der Spiegel (a German magazine):
http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,693359,00.html

- Goldsworthy, S. D., M. Giese, R. P. Gales, N. Brothers, and J.
Hamill. 2000. Effects of the Iron Baron oil spill on little penguins
(Eudyptula minor). II. Post-release survival of rehabilitated oiled
birds. Wildlife Research 27:573-582.
Summary: Little Penguins off Tasmania, Australia had significantly
lower survival than non-oiled birds after a 1995 oil spill. Breeding
success of rehabilitated oiled birds was significantly lower than
non-oiled birds.

- Sharp, B. 1996. Post-release survival of oiled, cleaned seabirds in
North America. Ibis 138:222-228.
Abstract: The number of days between ringing and recovery of oiled,
cleaned and released seabirds was extremely low, usually a matter of a
few days or weeks, and for three species was 5-100 times lower than
for non-oiled birds, For oiled, cleaned Guillemots Uria aalge,
postrelease life expectancy was 9.6 days and long-term recovery rates
were 10-20% of those of non-oiled birds. Measures of survival were not
greater for oiled birds treated in recent years with modern methods.
The cost and effectiveness of rehabilitation efforts for oiled
seabirds need to be reexamined in the light of results showing low
post-release survival.

- Anderson, D. W., S. H. Newman, P. R. Kelly, S. K. Herzog, and K. P.
Lewis. 2000. An experimental soft-release of oil-spill rehabilitated
American coots (Fulica americana): I. Lingering effects on survival,
condition and behavior. Environmental Pollution 107:285-294.
Abstract: In spring 1995, we studied survival, condition and behavior
of 37 oiled/rehabilitated (OR) American coots (Fulica americana) (RHB)
and compared them to 38 wild-caught, non-oiled and non-rehabilitated
coots (REF). All coots were wing-clipped to prevent long-range
dispersal, mixed equally and randomly and soft-released into two
fenced marshes. Twenty RHB+20 REF coots were subjected to handling and
sampling four times during the 4-month study and the remainder were
left undisturbed. The study ended before any coots dispersed following
remige regrowth. Overall survival was significantly lower for RHB
coots, regardless of the way survival was viewed (four Chi(2) tests
varied between p< 0.045 and p< 0.006). Mortality was 2.1 times
higher in RHB coots: 51% mortality in RHB cools and 24% in REF coots
(4 months total). RHB coots began the experiment 9% lighter in mean
body condition indices (BCI = a standardization that corrected for
different-sized birds) than REF coots, but REF coots also needed a
period of adjustment to captivity. BCIs then varied (p< 0.02)
similarly among both groups throughout the experiment. Initially, RHB
coots lost more weight in comparison to REF cools (although RHB coots
fed more), but those RHB coots that did survive recovered to
REF-comparable BCIs after about 6 weeks: both higher and equivalent at
the beginning of moult and then both equivalent but lower through the
moulting period. Long-term RHB coot and REF coot survivors both had
significant (p< 0.001) positive correlations between their initial
and ending body weights. A similar relationship was also suggested for
the non-surviving REF coots, but could not be tested For statistical
significance. In contrast to all other groups, however, non-surviving
RHB coots failed to show any relationship between their initial and
ending body weights (p> 0.10), indicating that non-surviving RHB
coots were unable to gain or maintain body condition for about 2-3
months following their oiling/rehabilitation experience. Throughout
the experiment, RHB coots preened more on water and on land. bathed
more, slept less during the day, and exhibited feeding and drinking
behaviors more frequently or of greater duration than REF coots (all
statistical tests with Bonferroni-corrected p< 0.05).

----------------------------------------------------
There is a lot of information on penguin and gannets that were oiled
during a spill off South Africa in 2000 and earlier spills. In
summary, these de-oiled birds survived reasonably well (not
considerably different than un-oiled birds), but had lower future
breeding success. A few studies of shorebirds with very small sample
sizes also suggest that rehabilitation is effective.

- Wolfaardt, A. C., A. J. Williams, L. G. Underhill, R. J. M.
Crawford, and P. A. Whittington. 2009. Review of the rescue,
rehabilitation and restoration of oiled seabirds in South Africa,
especially African Penguins Spheniscus demersus and Cape Gannets Morus
capensis, 1983-2005. African Journal of Marine Science 31:31-54.
https://filestogeaux.lsu.edu/public/download.php?FILE=ejohn33/8505sXDCnM

- Underhill, L. G., P. A. Bartlett, L. Baumann, R. J. M. Crawford, B.
M. Dyer, A. Gildenhuys, D. C. Nel, T. B. Oatley, M. Thornton, L.
Upfold, A. J. Williams, P. A. Whittington, and A. C. Wolfaardt. 1999.
Mortality and survival of African Penguins Spheniscus demersus
involved in the Apollo Sea oil spill: an evaluation of rehabilitation
efforts. Ibis 141:29-37.
Abstract: The bulk ore carrier Apollo Seer sank near Dassen Island,
South Africa, on 20 June 1994 during a period of winter storms.
Approximately 10 000 African (Jackass) Penguins Spheniscus demersus
were oiled, collected and transported to the SANCCOB rescue centre;
5213 were released after cleaning, 4076 with flipper bands. We believe
that most of the penguins oiled during this incident reached an island
or the mainland alive, and that there was no mass mortality in the
wild at the time of the oil spill. Birds from all parts of the
breeding range were oiled, but most were from Robben and Dassen
Islands. The overwhelming majority of released birds made the
transition from the rescue centre to the wild successfully; 2652 had
been resighted at breeding colonies within two years of their release;
the cumulative number of birds was increasing steadily and an
asymptote had not been reached by August 1996. There was a wide
dispersal of released penguins, with recoveries and resightings over
1800 km of coastline between Algoa Bay and Walvis Bay.

- Weston, M. A., P. Dann, R. Jessop, J. Fallaw, R. Dakin, and D. Ball.
2008. Can oiled shorebirds and their nests and eggs be successfully
rehabilitated? A case study involving the threatened Hooded Plover
Thinornis rubricollis in South-eastern Australia. Waterbirds
131:127-132.
https://filestogeaux.lsu.edu/public/download.php?FILE=ejohn33/78609JLs9l4

- Amirault-Langlais, D. L., P. W. Thomas, and J. McKnight. 2007. Oiled
piping plovers (Charadrius melodus melodus) in eastern Canada.
Waterbirds 30:271-274.
https://filestogeaux.lsu.edu/public/download.php?FILE=ejohn33/89327tmktbI

- Golightly, R. T., S. H. Newman, E. N. Craig, H. R. Carter, and J. A.
K. Mazet. 2002. Survival and behavior of Western Gulls following
exposure to oil and rehabilitation. Wildlife Society Bulletin
30:539-546.
Abstract: In California, care of wildlife injured in oil spills has
been legislatively mandated and has resulted in development of
professionally supervised rehabilitation efforts. However, the
efficacy and success of these programs need evaluation. We assessed
survivorship and behavior of radio-marked western gulls (Larus
occidentalis) that were rehabilitated via California's Oiled Wildlife
Care Network (OWCN) following the 1997 Torch/Platform Irene Pipeline
spill in south-central California. The test groups were 1) oiled and
rehabilitated gulls (n=7), 2) non-oiled but rehabilitated gulls
(n=10), and 3) non-oiled and not rehabilitated gulls (n=10). All
groups were released to the wild in October 1997 and monitored twice
weekly by aerial telemetry until January 1998, and once weekly
thereafter until June 1998. One non-oiled and not rehabilitated bird
died 115 days after release. All oiled and rehabilitated gulls
survived until transmitters failed (127-235 days), despite unfavorable
El Ni (n) over tildeo conditions in early 1998. No statistically
significant differences could be detected in the size of geographical
areas used by the three groups of gulls. The results of this study
suggest that modern rehabilitation programs such as OWCN have the
potential to reduce impacts to seabird populations from marine oil
spills by returning some oiled birds back to wild populations.



~Letter 3:

Here is the response I wrote to the article from Der Spiegel.

There has been significant improvement in wildlife care since 1998. It is
interesting that this biologist does not mention the traditional reason for
euthanizing wildlife in spills, disease contagion. In the events at a spill
where birds that never come into contact are both on a beach together, or
transported together, or cross contaminated along the way, diseases could
easily be transferred. In the original crowded, mixed species wildlife
triage units, wildlife disease experts made this same cry to kill all the
birds. However, concerns about that issue and the improvement of traige
centers and veterinarian training make me wonder what level of training this
biologist has with avian physiology.

Efforts at UC Davis and other vet schools, as well as with spill response
groups, to improve the "clinical treatment" of oiled birds, and some data
from their studies seem to indicate that if birds are promptly cleaned,
depurated of internal oil, and tracked clinically, their chances of survival
are good. As more baseline data from healthy birds are obtained to compare
with birds from spills (with oil companies paying for this work),
information about when to release birds is becoming more and more
scientifically based upon a combination of blood work, weight, and
waterproofing rather than when the bird is clean and responsive.


To answer David's questions, I do believe that there have been some studies
on cleaned pelicans that were banded, as well as snowy plovers during the
New Carissa spill off Oregon.
I do agree with David that the transport of sick birds that takes a lot of
time can be very traumatic for the birds and that the majority of birds that
would likely make a speedy recovery after cleanup are very difficult to
catch.

I am also not a big fan of the co-opting of the funds in spills for bird
triage while NRDA baseline work is not well funded or is performed by groups
without any monitoring or design skills, but I do have to agree that the
technology has greatly improved in the past 12 years.

It is somewhat sad and ironic that no one is writing a plea for better
baseline data to really generate bird population estimates to calculate
impacts to be able to make better NRDA reimbursement calculations.

Labird:
>
> Thanks for the reminder. One thing to remember is that the overwhelming
> majority of oiled birds are not going to be caught by anyone. They are
> perfectly capable of flight. They will either recover on their own, or, as
> Steve Cardiff suggests, die slowly and out of sight. Certainly the only
> oiled bird we saw yesterday was capable of flight.
>
> Does anyone know the survival rate of oiled birds so incapacitated they can
> be caught and brought to rehab? Have their been any follow-up studies of
> birds that were cleaned and released after oiling?
>
>>
>
> LABIRDers,
>
> This is just a reminder, since people are going out to beaches to look for
> and count birds, to report (as immediately as possible) any oiled wildlife
> that you may see.
>
> The hotline number is 1-866-557-1401. You will be asked for location
> information - if you have GPS coordinates on your phone, that will be very
> helpful to the field rescue team when they get the report.
>
> I do not have the latest numbers for birds being brought into the Oiled
> Wildlife Center, but it is still fairly low. Late last week, 25 birds had
> been brought in, and 7 or 8 had survived. I believe that only a handful of
> birds have been brought in over the weekend. Rough weather has made it
> difficult for the field rescue team to access some of the barrier islands.
> Once birds are oiled on more accessible beaches, the numbers will probably
> start to increase more quickly. Meanwhile, everyone involved is using the
> relatively slow start to get organized and to plan for a bigger response as
> that is needed.
>
> I will try to send this sort of reminder occasionally, so that the number
> is
> handy if you should need it.
>


~Letter 4:

All,



Some very good review and analyses here. Before retiring from federal
service, I spent years on managing studies directed at oil-spill
rehabilitation methods and results, both for birds and marine mammals. I
began my career as a park ranger and then a research toxicologist, but for
the concerns here, the contract management aspects of oil rehab efforts are
of equal importance. In some situations, such as endangered species where
each individual "counts," I lean toward efforts to save individuals, but in
general, one should question, the costs, the biological significance, and
feel-good reality distortion. In my experience, the assumption oil
companies pay for these efforts is not quite the whole story. Considerable
state and federal support is involved and, of course, one can argue what you
pay at the pump is the bottom line for who really pays for this.



For Exxon-Valdez, the Smithsonian oil-spill exhibit noted more oil was
consumed in clean-up efforts than was spilled. Another common story,
perhaps an urban myth, is every sea otter in the rehab centers could have
gone to Harvard for the cost per animal. Because of many factors such as
cold water, rocky shorelines, finite spill, and local species; comparisons
and lessons to be learned between these two events are limited. In general,
the fumes and inhalation effects were significantly underestimated before
Exxon-Valdez and hopefully will be recognized as significant factors for
both animals and humans working on spill efforts. To the points below,
methods to better clean oiled animals and improve post-treatment survival
have progressed, but not the economy of those efforts. I agree, the result
of these efforts "are mixed" both at the clinical level and, more so, at the
population ecology level. Are the limits on retrieval, rehabilitation, and
post-treatment survival remotely significant to overall numbers? If not, at
worst, the costs are astounding for feeling-good, or open to debate, at
best.


Terreson
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Richard G. makes an excellent point - given what we spend to clean
wildlife, we need to study its effectiveness. Otherwise, we're just
making the oil companies look good (assuming they're paying for it)
and gives the media some "feel-good" stories. Is reality being
distorted?


Thanks for the info, Tere. Depressing as hell but useful to know. There are no magic bullets. Sad that many of the birds who do get saved don't usually live that long and have decreased fertility rates. Sad, too, that the effected birds end up dying slow, painful deaths. And that's just the birds. The turtles, fish and mammals must suffer a similar fate.
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Yes, Kat, depressing as hell. I figure we are all in this together and need to know the dynamics involved.

~Listening to NPR as I write. Another House Committe investigation into the Deepwater Horizon spill was conducted today. The scientist from Purdue who last week estimated that 70,000 barrels of oil a day are spewing out of one break in the pipe now says an additional 25,000 barrels a day are spewing out of a second break in the pipe. That's almost 100,000 barrels of oil a day. If he is right we now have a Valdez size spill every three days and not four. Even if he is wrong by a third, by half, BP still sticks to its estimate of 5,000 barrels a day spewing out.

~I heard today that 46 miles of LA coastline are oil fouled.

~It seems Gov. Jindall has, in the fourth week of the spill, become alarmed. It needed him to go out into the Gulf, put a net in the water and scoop up oil.

~Finally it is official. NOAA says the spill has entered the Gulf Loop current. But that it is not much and will likely get dispersed by the time it reaches the Keys. The PR spin, always looking to minimize effect, kind of drives me crazy.

~Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/2019_TMF24-2010-05-19-1300.pdf

A picture is worth a thousand words they say.

Tere
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Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/2028_TMF24-2010-05-20-1300.pdf

Notice how the spill's sheen is driven by current and wind. Yesterday it was further to the east. Today it comes back to kiss LA shores again. Notice the red on the map. That's oil on the coastline.

~As of late this afternoon "sheets of oil" have touched 68 miles of LA coast. Yesterday it was 41 miles.

~LA state is wanting to connect barrier islands extending over 80 miles with sand dredged from the Gulf. The idea is to create a giant sandbar.

~The incredible news. Last week BP still insisted only 5,000 barrels of oil a day were spewing up. Today they say their tanker(s) are pumping up through the tube connected to one of the pipe breaks 5,000 barrels a day. But oil is still spilling out.

~The EPA has ordered BP to use a less toxic oil dispersent. Proprietary name: Corexit, what active ingredient is the chemical compound 2-butoxyethanol. I note that the same agency had approved the use of Corexit in the first place.

I have two reflections tonight: reflection 1 - engineers and disaster managers tend to minimize possible consequences. Reflection 2 - none of these people know what they are doing. Not the engineers, not the scientists, not the governmental agency personnel responsible for oversight and regulating, not even wildlife recovery groups such as Audobon. They simply don't know what they are doing. Decisions get made on an ad hoc basis.

Tere

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The news this morning was that the oil slick has reached Grand Isle. I know the island. Anyone who has read Kate Chopin's classic coming of age novel, "The Awakening," is familiar with it too. At the turn of the last century it was a watering hole for wealthy New Orleaneans, sporting luxury hotels until a hurricane took them all out in, I think, 1909. Since then it has served as a coastal town for shrimpers and fishermen.

To the east northeast of Grand Isle is a smaller island called Grand Terre Island. (Unnamed on the map but you can zoom in for a closer look.) Before Katrina it was home to the state's Wildlife and Fisheries Dept. who had a biological station there for researching marine life. I know that island even better. Again before Katrina we had a station there for isolated honey bee breeding. We could take over by boat 50 to 100 colonies and be pretty sure we were controlling drone sources for mating with our virgin queens. I was there soon after Katrina to help assess damage and determine if the station could be restored. Storm damage was complete. I learned that the storm surge that swept over the island was 6 to 8 feet. I spent many a hot day there. Marsh mosquitoes simply tear the hide off your bones. We could spray repellent over all of our bodies, which we did, except for our arms and hands. Honey bees being insects too. But I loved that island. In marshlands I always get a sense of first creation, of DNA shared between me and amphibeans, and of our homonoid first comers. I get it in marshes the way I get it nowhere else. After working on the island, and if enough light was left, I would walk through the marshes to the island's western tip. There the ruins of a 19th C Federal fort stood. Made of red brick and half-eaten away by the tides. (They say a football field size of LA coastline is lost every hour.) I have pictures of the fort. My favorite is the one I took of the moon viewed from behind a cactus growing on the rampart. It has always struck me as odd I should one day end up on an island called Grand Terre. Terreson has been my pseudonym since '91. I first visited the island in '02.

Now the Deepwater Horizon oil is on the shore. One Grand Isle resident is reported as saying "you didn't see it coming". It wasn't visible, on the surface. It's as if it got carried in a plume below and suddenly appeared on shore.

We know so little about nature's dynamics while still behaving like boys building an erector set.

A map of Grand Ilse and Grand Terre and the bays:

http://itouchmap.com/?d=559625&s=LA&f=bay

Today's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/topic_subtopic_entry.php?RECORD_KEY%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=entry_id,subtopic_id,topic_id&entry_id(entry_subtopic_topic)=809&subtopic_id(entry_subtopic_topic)=2&topic_id(entry_subtopic_topic)=1

Tere
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And the worse it gets, the less we hear. Nothing on BBC World News. I heard reporters peppered Obama's press secretary with questions re: when the govt. was going to take over the handling of this situation. His answer: The government's been over-seeing the effort from day-1.

It's all very confusing. I think you're right,
nobody knows what to do. There is probably no remedy known to man.

I think you're right to focus on it and I appreciate your updates, heart-breaking though they are.

Chris
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Thanks for the input, Chris. Yes, it is depressing. Damn near debilitating for someone who loves the Gulf. But I am going to keep searching the info and posting it. Local 10 PM News says the spill is now the size of Pennsylvania. But that is only surface area. Nobody knows depth. Therefore nobody knows volume.

Today BP corrected yesterday's estimate of oil getting siphoned off and pumped into a tanker. Yesterday they said they were recovering 5,000 barrels of oil a day. Today they say it is more like 2,200 barrels a day.

11 hours ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULLHYmz98P0

This is the picture from a satellite and over time:

http://mashable.com/2010/05/21/oil-spill-pictures/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29&flv=1

Last item for tonight:

http://www.dailyfinance.com/article/expert-surface-area-of-gulf-oil-spill/1039683/

It occurs to me that comparing the Deepwater Horizon spill to the Valdez spill is stupid. To make my point let me say that again. It occurs to me that comparing the Deepwater Horizon spill to the Valdez spill is stupid. The '89 Valdez spill occurred at the surface. Deepwater Horizon spill originates some 5,000 feet below the surface.

One more item for tonight:

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/94555094.html

Tere

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlApwcyBN6g&NR=1

Tere
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Yesterday's off-shore trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/2040_SOFM24-2010-05-21-1900.pdf

Yesterday's surface, near shore trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/topic_subtopic_entry.php?RECORD_KEY%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=entry_id,subtopic_id,topic_id&entry_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=809&subtopic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=2&topic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=1

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The Sierra Club has a pretty good site devoted to the spill. I think the date of the maps is 18 May, fairly recent. Each link gives a map and you can both zoom in and zoom out.

http://www.sierraclub.org/oilspill/map/#start

Tere
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This is it.

http://www.grist.org/article/2010-05-20-louisiana-marshes-hit-by-gulf-oil-slick-wildlife-threatened/

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/louisiana-marshes-hit-by-gulf-oil-slick

Tere

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Yesterday's trajectory:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/2046_SOFM24-2010-05-22-2100.pdf

And this from Alabama:

http://blog.al.com/live/2010/05/oil_spill_washes_into_louisian.html

And this on cleaning up marshes:

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/louisiana-marshes-will-pose-challenges-for-gulf-oil-spill-cleanup/19485841

Tere

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I was forwarded this email by my birding friend about an hour ago. The author is an ornithologist I think associated with LSU. The letter is a message addressed to a group called LABIRD. It is a report on observations made on Grand Isle yesterday.

~"Labird,

X, Y and I went down to Grand Isle yesterday
to try and conduct some bird surveys. As previously pointed out, beach
access was difficult. We were turned away at Elmer's Island due to
cleanup efforts. We were told by Jefferson Parish Sheriffs to check in
at the command center at the Sand Dollar Motel at the east end of the
island. The command center folks told us to talk with LDWF, who told us
we needed to talk with the Sheriffs office. Hopefully access can be
worked out with more advanced warning to the agencies, but I'm afraid
there won't be any reason to survey this area for much longer.

While we were at the Sand Dollar we spotted an oiled immature Laughing
Gull. It was drooping its wing, which was matted with oil, was keeping
its eyes closed, and couldn't balance properly. I called the animal
distress hotline and had a bizarre interaction with the operator. She
asked me several times for the zipcode and didn't know where Grand Isle
was. I received a callback within 5 minutes from an LDWF staffer that
knew what she was talking about and took the correct information. Also
at the Sand Dollar we observed two more oiled Laughing Gulls flying
around some fishing boats, and an oiled Snowy Egret on the jetty to the
north of the marina.

We surveyed the beach in front of Sureway from on top of the dunes,
walking east for just over a kilometer. It didn't matter that we
couldn't see the beach front because there were almost no birds on the
beaches. There were sheets of heavy oil running east-west extending out
into the Gulf as far as we could see. We watched a couple of these
sheets come ashore on the breakers and beach. We observed several oiled
Brown Pelicans, including an adult that presumably dove into an oil
sheet. We had several more Laughing Gulls with splotches and stains fly
over, and one each of Royal and Sandwich Terns with oil. There were many
individuals of these species feeding in between the sheets out in the
Gulf."

FYI. The Sand Dollar is a marina on the eastern most tip of Grand Isle and on its northern bay fronted side.

Tere



May/23/2010, 3:44 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Marsh spoiled so we can have plastic


As many as 100,000 barrels of oil a day spewing out. Measurement of a barrel of oil = 42 US gallons. 42 times 100,000 = 4,200,000 gallons of oil a day. Over thirty days that makes for as many as 126 million gallons of oil in the Gulf right now, both on the surface and at depth.

I am trying to wrap my brain around this. Trying to figure out some sort of referential. Twice a year, in late spring and late summer, I have to deal in barrels of honey. Honey is heavy. Its viscosity somewhere in the neighborhood of crude oil's. I have to operate a Bobcat with a special front end "grabber" to pick up a barrel and place it on a flatbed truck for delivery. I can move a barrel of honey by hand if I walk it left to right, right to left, maybe ten inches at a time. Not sure, but maybe 5 men could lift and carry a barrel of honey. 5 men times 100,000 barrels would need 500,000 men a day to move the amount of the spill's daily output. 500,000 men a day times 30 days would require 15 million men to take out of the Gulf what has been spewed so far.

This is the human scale by which we should be measuring the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. And why not? Stonehenge was put in place by men with far less technology than we have now.

Terreson

Last edited by Terreson, May/23/2010, 6:23 pm
May/23/2010, 6:13 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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I am changing the approach. Instead of linking to a trajectory map I am linking to the site's main page. The page's map also shows where oil has come ashore. For the trajectory scroll down to the bottomn of the page for the several (PDF file) links.

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/topic_subtopic_entry.php?RECORD_KEY%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=entry_id,subtopic_id,topic_id&entry_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=809&subtopic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=2&topic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=1

~Yahoo news this afternoon said the spill touching the coast, presumambly in one form or another from tar balls to actual oil, reaches 150 miles. From Dauphine Island off the coast of Alabama in the east to Grand Isle in the west. LA's governor says 13 miles of marshland are covered in oil. Somewhere I read a comment to the effect that with the Valdez spill rocky coastlines and boulders in Prince William Sound could be pressure washed. But that you cannot pressure wash a marsh. As I said earlier there is no point in comparing the two spills. As one resident of Venice said, the southernmost town in the Mississippi Delta, there are no beaches there, just a pourous coastline and marsh. We've now come to the new normal. I see no hope for the fouled tidal marshes. They will die.

~Another forwarded letter from my birding friend. It includes a link to a Washington Post article describing how oil effects the marshes:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2010/05/22/GR2010052203964.html?tid=grpromo

Tere
May/24/2010, 6:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Marsh spoiled so we can have plastic


Because I do not want it to get buried in back postsI will continue to give the NOAA Deepwater Horizon link.

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/topic_subtopic_entry.php?RECORD_KEY%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=entry_id,subtopic_id,topic_id&entry_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=809&subtopic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=2&topic_id%28entry_subtopic_topic%29=1

In the last two days I've been noticing images and photos in the news media. Finally. A dead gannet, oil covered jellyfish, a dragonfly with oil splotched wings. And the news is finally coming out concerning dead marine life washing up on shore. I've maintained this thread for over thirty days, even if among a very, very small readership, in order to keep the disaster front and center. I can now back off a little, not spend hours searching out information. The media is a machine and it is news driven.

What I said yesterday still rings true. Any oil fouled marsh is in for certain death. Certainly in the short and mid-range term. To put this into perspective, much marine life starts out, spawns, in the marshes. And so the impact is not limited to marsh life. And I think it is true that 25% of America's seafood comes from the Gulf.

So the marshes are the spill's first casualty. Nobody, nobody has a clue to how much oil is below the surface of the Gulf and at what depths. And if my understanding of the Gulf Stream current is accurate I fully expect the entire Atlantic coast, as far as Nova Scotchia, and possibly out into the North Atlantic itself to be impacted eventually. I finally read a phrase today in a news item that I had written here at least two weeks ago. The Deepwater Horizon spill is a generational problem. I do not mention this in the spirit of saying 'I told you so.' Rather in the spirit of: if a stupid ass poet can see so far upstream why the hell can't the experts, scientists, engineers, and managers? I don't much care for the politics of my state's present governor. But he at least has had the imagination to get, to foresee, what was a potential and now a realized disaster. Oil companies can't disappoint me anymore. But the muddling through, the indecision, the equivocating of government officials, elected or appointed, can. I understand the Federal government's position: that only an oil company has the technology and equipment to cap a well. But pressure on BP should have been brought to bear hours after the rig sank, not weeks. Worst case scenario is that a Valdez sized spill has turned over every 4 days, this since the 20th of April. !@#$ it but I hope the top kill at the wellhead works tomorrow. As it stands right now the spill, and for the foreseeable future, remains damn near infinite. But even if it works the end is not found. It is like our mother is bathing in a pool. And all of her sons and daughters decide to squat over the sides and take a crap. No innocents here. Not in LA state. Not in San Fransisco. Not in Woodstock, NY. Not in Tokyo. Not in Berlin. Not in the poorest country on the planet wanting fossil fuel to generate its economy. The whole human population is implicit in this spill. The same would be true if it happened in Nigeria or in Venezuala; where it is likely to happen sooner rather than later. I keep wondering why we human type animals keep thinking the chance of planetary disaster is worth taking for the sake of oil. In the short term I guess it is because we are addicted to the convenience easy energy affords us. In the mid-term I figure it is because we want the material things, possessions. In the long term? We have no sense of reverence and so have lost a sense of balance between our special needs and that of the biosphere's.

Tere
May/25/2010, 7:32 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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