BP oil destroys wildlife

This video from the USA says about itself:

The first segment of a three part interview with the Audubon Society, Finley Hewes and Dustin Renaud take us through their experiences dealing with the aftermath of the oil spill. Watch in the second half of the piece for a suggestion on a way to help migratory birds on their way through the damaged Gulf landscape on their annual journeys. I’m not sure that it’s anything that most people would have thought of and it’s something that people can do even if they live far from the Gulf.

And here are parts 2 and 3 of that interview.

From Audubon Magazine in the USA:

Special Report: The BP Gulf Oil Disaster

Marine Life

Toxic Brew

Millions of gallons of oil and dispersants have been pumped and dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, essentially creating what amounts to a science experiment. Carl Safina, a prominent ecologist and marine conservationist, explores the repercussions for sea life, and its uncertain future.

Compared with a similar stretch of American coast or area of open ocean, the Gulf of Mexico has an unusually rich concentration of wildlife. Certain species that roam the open Atlantic stream into the Gulf to breed; some breed there exclusively. Many others winter on the Gulf’s shores or in its warm waters. Year-round residents, such as shrimp and oysters, support wildlife up the food chain, forming the base of the region’s vibrant seafood industry. The Gulf is of hemispheric importance to fisheries—its bounty has made the United States the world’s third-largest seafood producer, and it generates about 20 percent of our commercial seafood. I’ve visited the region several times since the oil eruption began, seeing the effects firsthand, speaking to fishermen and others affected by the disaster.

At present, the most accurate assessment of marine wildlife is: No one really knows anything. At this writing, we don’t even know the problem’s dimensions. Millions and millions of gallons of crude remain in the waters, and dispersants have irretrievably dissolved oil into the sea, where it can’t evaporate or weather as it would in the heat and sunlight of the surface. Nor can it be seen or quantified. Furthermore, the main deployed defenses, booms and dispersants, work at cross-purposes. Booms along the coast have many gaps, and they are not designed to work in open water. As bird protection they’re pointless, because birds fly, and the whole idea behind booms—that oil floats—is defeated by dissolving the oil into the water with dispersants, creating a toxic brew.

In that water, of course, lives an extraordinary range of wildlife. While laboratory tests show dispersants, oil, and a mixture of the two kill fish, fish larvae, and shrimp, sedentary creatures are perhaps most at risk from these substances. Oysters and coral reefs—and the people and other wildlife that depend on them—are essentially defenseless. Crude has reportedly come up on fishing nets and crab traps in places where little or none has been visible on the surface. Everyone understands that the troubled wildlife we observe is a small fraction of what is being affected. How big is the problem? How long till recovery? The dose makes the poison. The entire system and its wildlife can—and do—withstand natural oil seeps and chronic oil spills from boat engine exhaust, fuel leaks, bilge pumping, and road runoff. It’s a matter of how much oil will enter the Gulf (unknown), where it will go and in what concentrations (unknown), and for how long (unknown).

The Gulf’s species, of course, recover at greatly varying rates. Shrimp, fishes, corals, crabs, molluscs, cetaceans, and turtles have quite different rates of maturation, reproduction, and potential population growth. Some can withstand more stress and some bounce back better. Others may feel the consequences for decades. Oil from the Exxon Valdez killed more than a third of the killer whales in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Their numbers have never recovered. The effects of temperate and sub-Arctic spills have lasted decades. In the Gulf the heat will likely speed weathering and evaporation of surface oil, raising the possibility that recovery will occur sooner than it has in some other oil incidents. It all remains to be seen.

Hurricanes Could Carry Gulf “Oil” Inland: here.

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