Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Migrant Shorebirds arrive in the Gulf

It's here, what we've been fearing. Birds are starting their annual migration through the Gulf Coast and coming into contact with the oiled shorelines.

from a "birding blog" (linked above), an excerpt:
Today on Grand Isle Beach, where it is open to swimming, fishing and crabbing, the beach was strewn with new tarballs, and not one person was cleaning any of it. These tarballs warm in the sun and soak into the sand, or become gooey and can directly oil bird's plumage, especially Sanderlings and Plovers that forage along the beach front.

The scale of this disaster is so huge, that many people seem to be ok with the amount of oil that is being left on the beaches now, and will likely never be cleaned. The fact of the matter is, if the amount of oil just on Grand Isle right now were to wash in on a New England Beach, or in San Francisco it would be a major environmental disaster. The apathy towards this catastrophe is very dis-heartening, and is directly affecting our nation's avi-fauna, and there seems to be no outcry for better handling.

The USFWS seems to be content with all of the oil on the shores, even on the Chandeleur Islands, and Raccoon Island. I can bring a shovel to any beach now and find lots of oil under the sand from Waveland, MS to Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana. On the east end of Grand Isle alone, a thick mat 50 meters by 10 meters wide, and 6 inches thick blankets the shoreline. That is 18,500 gallons worth of weathered oil on the shores, which goes uncleaned even today. The amount of fresh oil represented by that number is likely double the figure! Now extrapolate that along the entire southeastern Louisiana Coast where oil of this type is everywhere. Is that OK?

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