By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
April 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill- Mid-August Status
The Skytruth Oil Spill Tracker showed the following improvements from a visual inspection of a map depicting the major areas of the spill with both small and large red dots. During May 2010, there were 3 large red dots on the map in the New Orleans area, 1 large red dot in Sarasota, Florida and a smaller dot just North of Havana.
By August, the initial 3 large dots in the New Orleans area were reduced to much smaller red Padre Island National Seashore - Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle (Wikipedia)dots. The large red dot in Sarasota, Florida was reduced to a smaller one and the small dot just above Havana disappeared. There are still some scattered smaller dots throughout the Gulf region.
John Amos of Skytruth indicated that 1 subsurface of oil washed ashore on Alabama beaches 8-12-2010 nearly 1 month after the well was capped. Currently, BP continues work to finish the relief wells in order to seal the gusher for good.
Scientists from NOAA’s Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP) mobilized resources quickly in the Gulf. The NOAA team collected data from pre-oiled and oiled natural resources. This information is critical to the natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) process.
Data collected in the Gulf will help determine whether or not natural resources have been injured and what human uses have been impaired. Once the injuries and losses have been quantified, NOAA and its partners will work to compensate the public by restoring, rehabilitating, or replacing the natural resources damaged by the oil spill.
Work by federal and state partners under the Oil Pollution Act is currently in the preassessment phase to determine whether or not injury to public natural resources has occurred and the extent of the same.
Species with essential fish habitat near the oil spill include: scalloped hammerhead, shortfin mako, silky, whale, bigeye thresher, longfin mako, and oceanic whitetip sharks; swordfish, white marlin, blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, longbill spearfish, and sailfish. Other important fish in the Gulf include red snapper, grouper, gray triggerfish, red drum, vermilion snapper, greater amberjack, black drum, cobia and dolphin (mahi-mahi), coastal migratory pelagic (open water) species, such as king and Spanish mackerel, and pelagic sharks. Shellfish in the Gulf include oysters and several species of shrimp and crabs. Of the 28 species of marine mammals known to live in the Gulf of Mexico, all are protected and six (sperm, sei, fin, blue, humpback and North Atlantic right whales) are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
At least four species of threatened/endangered sea turtles (Kemp’s Ridley, green, leatherback, and loggerhead) are residents of the northern Gulf of Mexico and are represented by all life stages. A fifth species, the hawksbill turtle, can be found in the southern Gulf. The only nesting beaches in the world for Kemp’s Ridley turtles are in the western Gulf of Mexico.
Marshes in the Gulf of Mexico provide extremely important habitat for feeding and nesting of several species that can be found in offshore waters, such as royal terns and gulls. Species of concern include near shore and marsh birds: brown pelican, diving ducks, wading birds, piping plover (a threatened species) and pelagic (open water) birds such as shearwaters, northern gannets, and frigate birds. Marine mammals, fish, and birds depend on clean, healthy habitats to provide food, shelter, and breeding grounds. These habitats include salt and fresh water marshes, mangroves, mudflats, beaches, coral and shellfish reefs, water column and bottom sediments. (ADAPTED FROM DARRP, NOAA)
Currently, BP claims that they are doing everything possible. "We continue to seal the Macondo well permanently, clean up the environment, and make sure that people are compensated for legitimate claims." BP Completed a Well Pressure Test with results under review right now. More than 23k people, 3k vessels & 800 skimmers are at work responding to the oil spill. Following comprehensive FDA testing, the Louisiana Dept of Wildlife & Fisheries reopened some state waters to fishing.
Joseph S. Maresca Ph.D., CPA, CISA, MBA: His significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences. He holds membership in the prestigious Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society.
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