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Gulf of Mexico Foundation
News About the Gulf of Mexico
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Admiral Allen: BP relief well completed
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
WASHINGTON – September 19, 2021 - Admiral Allen: "After months of extensive operations planning and execution under the direction and authority of the U.S. government science and engineering teams, BP has successfully completed the relief well by intersecting and cementing the well nearly 18,000 feet below the surface. With this development, which has been confirmed by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, we can finally announce that the Macondo 252 well is effectively dead. Additional regulatory steps will be undertaken but we can now state, definitively, that the Macondo well poses no continuing threat to the Gulf of Mexico. From the beginning, this response has been driven by the best science and engineering available. We insisted that BP develop robust redundancy measures to ensure that each step was part of a deliberate plan, driven by science, minimizing risk to ensure we did not inflict additional harm in our efforts to kill the well. I commend the response personnel, both from the government and private sectors, for seeing this vital procedure through to the end. And although the well is now dead, we remain committed to continue aggressive efforts to clean up any additional oil we may see going forward."
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

A&M; University researcher observes invasive species in Gulf of Mexico
Copyright 2010 TAMUG. All rights reserved.
GULF OF MEXICO – September 12, 2021 - Graduate student Lynne Wetmore of Texas A&M; University at Galveston (TAMUG) observed two individual Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois spp.) at Sonnier Bank, a collection of mid-shelf clay and siltstone outcroppings located approximately 85 miles off the coast of Vermilion Parrish, Louisiana. These sightings have been reported and entered into the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database and could represent the first confirmed sightings of lionfish at natural banks in the northern Gulf as well as the westernmost lionfish observations in the region to date.
Lionfish, an invasive species, discovered off the coast of Louisiana by TAMUG researcher.
Lionfish, an invasive species, discovered off the coast of Louisiana by TAMUG researcher.
(PHOTO: Lynne Wetmore TAMUG)

Wetmore observed the fish while conducting visual fish surveys on SCUBA as part of TAMUG Fisheries Ecology and Ecosystem Research Lab's long-term study characterizing reef fish recruitment to natural banks in the northern Gulf of Mexico - a project funded by the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council. The first lionfish was observed near the crest of one of Sonnier's two main peaks (28° 20.43', 92° 27.06') at a depth of approximately 20 meters (65 feet) and subsequently removed by spear. The second lionfish was observed on the slope of the bank’s other large peak (28° 20.20', 92° 27.04') at a depth of approximately 27 meters (90 feet). Both fish were approximately 15 cm (6 inches) in total length.

For additional information about these sightings, please call Lynne Wetmore (832) 360-3090 or (409) 740-4784, or email at scubageek17@gmail.com.
ONLINE AT TAMUG FISHERIES ECOLOGY & ECOSYSTEM RESEARCH LAB

BP replaces failed blowout preventer on damaged oil well
Copyright 2010 Environment News Service. All rights reserved.
Environment News Service
HOUSTON, Texas, September 3, 2021 (ENS) - Under the direction of the federal science team and U.S. government engineers, BP has lifted the damaged blowout preventer from its position atop the cemented Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico and replaced it with a fully functioning and tested blowout preventer. The failed blowout preventer is raised from BP's damaged well. (ROV image courtesy BP)

National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen said today, "We will continue to closely monitor progress as the [failed] blowout preventer, which along with the latching device weighs approximately one million pounds, is lifted to the surface in the next 24-36 hours."

Yesterday, BP removed another set of valves called the capping stack, which was used to shut in the well on July 15. These procedures were undertaken in accordance with specific conditions Admiral Allen set forth last week in a directive to BP.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE

BP employing unmanned 'Wave Gliders' to measure oil spill impacts
Copyright 2010 Press Register. All rights reserved. By Brendan Kirby
THEODORE, AL - August 26, 2021 - BP PLC officials showed off a gadget called the Wave Glider Wednesday, the latest tool in their efforts to measure the long-term impact of nation’s largest oil spill.

Roger Hine, president and CEO of Liquid Robotics, and Mike Utsler, chief operating officer of BP's Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, discuss the Wave Glider with the press Wednesday Aug. 25, 2010 at Construction Solutions International.
(Press-Register/Victor Calhoun)

Manufactured by Liquid Robotics, the device can cruise through the water on a pre-programmed course for up to a year or, at a moment’s notice, can be given new instructions remotely from shore. It has a global positioning satellite antenna, a weather station and sensors that can detect dispersed oil and microscopic phytoplankon that makes up the bottom of the food chain.BP officials said the data will help them monitor the effects of the spill and respond to them.

“The neat thing is, it never runs out of fuel,” the California company’s CEO, Roger Hine, told BP’s top representative to the Unified Area Command.

The device, which looks like a surfboard, is propelled through the water by converting even the smallest waves into energy. Solar panels produce all of the power necessary to operate all of the electronics.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT AL.COM

No Dead Zones observed or expected as part of Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Copyright 2010 Ocean News & Technology. All rights reserved.
WASHINGTON – August 16, 2021 - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a report today that showed dissolved oxygen levels have dropped by about 20 percent from their long-term average in the Gulf of Mexico in areas where federal and independent scientists previously reported the presence of subsurface oil. Scientists from agencies involved in the report attribute the lower dissolved oxygen levels to microbes using oxygen to consume the oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These dissolved oxygen levels, measured within 60 miles of the wellhead, have stabilized and are not low enough to become “dead zones.” A dead zone is an area of very low dissolved oxygen that cannot support most life. Dead zones are commonly observed in the nearshore waters of the western and northern Gulf of Mexico in summer, but not normally in the deep water layer (3,300 – 4,300 feet) where the lowered oxygen areas in this study occurred. Dead zones, also known as hypoxic areas, are defined in marine waters as areas in which dissolved oxygen concentrations are below 2 mg/L (1.4 ml/L).
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT OCEAN NEWS & TECHNOLOGY


With oil well capped, scientists begin assessing spill's environmental toll
Copyright 2010 Press Register. All rights reserved.
MOBILE, AL - August 16, 2021 - With the Deepwater Horizon well capped, federal officials have turned their energies toward holding BP accountable for the environmental damage caused by hundreds of millions of gallons of oil loosed into the Gulf.

An oil soaked pelican takes flight off the coast of Louisiana in May. Scientists are beginning to calculate the toll of the oil spill on the Gulf Coast environment.
(Gerald Herbert/AP)

An army of federal scientists 300 strong is focused on the area surrounding Mobile. Hundreds more work in Mississippi and Louisiana.

The goal is to create an official reckoning of the environmental toll, from the most obvious -- 3,761 dead birds and counting, according to BP -- to losses so subtle that no one is even sure how to measure them. How, for instance, do you attach a dollar sign to trillions of dead planktonic organisms that can be identified only with a microscope?

Complicating the process, BP has an army, too, with scientists spread along the coastline from Texas to Florida hunting for the same answers that the government seeks. Both sides say that they hope to reach a consensus on what has been damaged and what it will take to begin to restore the Gulf of Mexico.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT AL.COM

President Obama and First Family
visit Gulf Coast
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
President Obama makes a statement to the press on Gulf Coast recovery plans in Panama City, Florida, on August 14.

President Obama makes a statement to the press on Gulf Coast recovery plans in Panama City, Florida, on August 14. (Pete Souza/White House)
WASHINGTON – August 15, 2021 - The President and his family wrapped up their vacation in Panama City, Fla., taking a boat tour of St. Andrews Bay and stopping for ice cream before departing for a return flight to Washington. Yesterday, the President remarked about the beauty of the Gulf Coast and the vital importance of the tourism industry across the region.

“I also want to point out that as a result of the cleanup effort, beaches all along the Gulf Coast are clean, they are safe, and they are open for business. That’s one of the reasons Michelle, Sasha, and I are here. The Governor and the mayors and others invited us down to enjoy the beach and the water — to let our fellow Americans know that they should come on down here. It is spectacular. Not just to support the region; come down here because it’s just a beautiful place to visit,” the President said.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

HRI's Larry McKinney says
Gulf will recover from oil disaster
Copyright 2010 Caller-Times. All rights reserved. By Jaime Powell
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — August 11, 2021 - The good news is the Gulf of Mexico mostly will recover after 184 gallons of oil spewed into it.

The bad: 31 years after a similar oil spill in the Gulf, we haven't learned much about preventing, containing or cleaning up environmental disasters.

That's how Larry McKinney, director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, assessed the Gulf's current state to about 100 World Affairs Council luncheon attendees Wednesday.

"It's a resilient body of water," said McKinney, who heads the institute at Texas A&M; University-Corpus Christi.

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico mirrors a 1979 Ixtoc rig spill off Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula that spilled 140 million gallons during 10 months, he said.

Americans must work to maintain the health of the Gulf for it to survive these disasters, he said.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE IN CORPUS CHRISTI CALLER-TIMES

GMF Director quoted in NPR pod cast
Copyright 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. By Phoebe JudgeNPR
August 4, 2021 - A federal report released Wednesday finds that most of the oil in the Gulf of Mexico poses little additional risk to people and the environment. It's a view not necessarily shared by people living in the affected area. [Parts of the pod cast have been omitted.]
Listen to the Story
All Things Considered
August 4, 2021

Dr. QUENTON DOKKEN (Executive Director, Gulf of Mexico Foundation): "This is what we've all been waiting for and watching for and keeping our fingers crossed. And, you know, over the last two weeks as we've moved towards this point, we've all been excited, but cautiously excited about it. And now it seems to be working and this is a big step forward."
READ ENTIRE TRANSCROPT ONLINE AT NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

BP says 'Static Kill'
holding back flow of Gulf oil
Copyright 2010 AP. All rights reserved. By Gerald Herbert
August 4, 2021 - President Obama said Wednesday that the worst oil spill in U.S. history was nearing an end after BP reported initial success in killing the ruptured well and a new government study painted a more optimistic picture of damage to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Helix Q4000 (center), the vessel being used to conduct the 'static kill' procedure ...
The Helix Q4000 (center), the vessel being used to conduct the "static kill" procedure, was surrounded by ships Tuesday at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Obama said he was heartened that "the long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally is finally coming to an end" after BP announced hours earlier that its "static kill" had stoppered the flow of oil.

Crews began injecting heavy mud through the temporary cap and into the mile-deep well on Tuesday afternoon. After eight hours, they managed to achieve what engineers call a "static condition," in which the pressure of the mud from the surface and that of the oil pushing from the bottom are equalized.

"It's a milestone. It's a step toward the killing of the well," said BP spokeswoman Sheila Williams.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

Report details fate of oil from BP spill
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
WASHINGTON – April 4, 2021 - The vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed using chemicals – much of which is in the process of being degraded. Much of this is the direct result of the federal response efforts.

A third (33 percent) of the total amount of oil released in the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill was captured or mitigated by the Unified Command recovery operations, including burning, skimming, chemical dispersion and direct recovery from the wellhead, according to a federal science report released today.

An additional 25 percent of the total oil naturally evaporated or dissolved, and 16 percent was dispersed naturally into microscopic droplets. The residual amount, just over one quarter (26 percent), is either on or just below the surface as residue and weathered tarballs, has washed ashore or been collected from the shore, or is buried in sand and sediments. Dispersed and residual oil remain in the system until they degrade through a number of natural processes. Early indications are that the oil is degrading quickly.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Report says most of Gulf oil spill gone
Copyright 2010 AP. All rights reserved.
August 4, 2021 - BP claimed a key milestone Wednesday in the effort to plug its blown-out well as a government report said much of the spilled oil is gone, heartening officials who have taken heat during the tricky cleanup but leaving some Gulf Coast residents still skeptical.
Helix employee Daniel Loebel sits in the bridge of the the Helix Q4000 ...
Helix employee Daniel Loebel sits in the bridge of the the Helix Q4000 Tuesday as it performs the static kill operation, at the site of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana.
(Gerald Herbert/AP)

BP PLC reported that mud forced down the well overnight was pushing the crude back down to its source for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off Louisiana on April 20, killing 11 workers.

And a federal report being released Wednesday indicated that only about a quarter of the spilled oil remains in the Gulf, with the rest having been contained, cleaned up or otherwise disappeared.

President Barack Obama, while noting that people's lives "have been turned upside down," declared in Washington that the operation was "finally close to coming to an end."
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT NOLA.COM

Report from Admiral Allen on
BP oil spill response
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
Aug 1, 2021 - First of all the current pressure in the capping stack is 6,980 pounds. It continues to rise and give indications of the same type of pattern we would expect with a well with integrity.

The 75-ton cap on the BP well. Work on a "static kill" procedure could start soon.
(AP Photo/BP PLC)

As you know we are in the process right now of laying the final casing run for the relief well and with that casing has now been placed at the bottom of the well bore. It is – they are circulating fluids just to make sure it's clean and ready to go.

And probably in the next four to five hours they will begin cementing the relief well in. As you know following that we are making preparations to do the hydrostatic or static kill as we have talked about. That could start as early as Monday night into Sunday depending on the steps that are taken.

They have to do what's called an injectivity test to make sure that all the systems are operating properly. And there is a sequence of events that has to be followed before they can actually start pumping mud into the capping stack itself.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Sixteen birds released at Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 28, 2021 - NEW ORLEANS – State and federal biologists released 13 laughing gulls, two royal terns, and one sandwich tern at Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge Wednesday, after being rescued and rehabilitated from oil impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge in Grand Chenier, La., was selected by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the release site because it has not been impacted by oil and contains natural habitat for these species.

“This refuge and nearby natural areas provide these birds the best chance of survival and success,” said Robert Barham, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “We hope to release more rehabilitated birds in state in coming weeks.”
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

BP CEO to be succeeded by Dudley
Copyright 2010 BP. All rights reserved.
July 27, 2021 - BP today announced that, by mutual agreement with the BP board, Tony Hayward is to step down as group chief executive with effect from October 1, 2010. He will be succeeded as of that date by fellow executive director Robert Dudley.

BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said: "The BP board is deeply saddened to lose a CEO whose success over some three years in driving the performance of the company was so widely and deservedly admired.

"The tragedy of the Macondo well explosion and subsequent environmental damage has been a watershed incident. BP remains a strong business with fine assets, excellent people and a vital role to play in meeting the world's energy needs. But it will be a different company going forward, requiring fresh leadership supported by robust governance and a very engaged board.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT BP.COM

As work on busted well resumes, oil mostly stays off Alabama beaches
Copyright 2010 Press Register. All rights reserved.
July 26, 2021 - Neither oil, nor the remnants of former Tropical Storm Bonnie, made much of a mark on Alabama shorelines Sunday, reports indicated, as response officials resumed efforts to permanently plug BP PLC's broken well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dauphin Island - click to read article
Dauphin Island as seen on July 25, 2010. (Press-Register/Bill Starling)

With the gusher's cap still closed and reportedly stable, the company and federal government officials said the "static kill" that they hope will finally choke off the well should begin in the next week or two. Spill responders expect to complete the relief well soon after that.
READ MORE ONLINE AT AL.COM

Bonnie halts oil spill clean-up efforts
Copyright 2010 Press Register. All rights reserved.
July 23, 2021 - Local oil spill responders halted clean-up efforts today, moved equipment off the beaches and even took down some boom in anticipation of Bonnie, a tropical depression expected to again become a tropical storm as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico.
Surfers wait for a wave
Surfers wait for a wave, Friday, July 23, 2021 near Haulover Beach Park in Miami-Dade County, Fla. A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Gulf coast as Tropical Storm Bonnie begins moving over South Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

On Saturday, as high waves and rain showers are expected to move in, there will be no skimming or other operations in local waters, said Keith Seilhan, BP PLC's Mobile Incident Commander.

All totaled, 75 truckloads of equipment have been moved to higher ground in Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle.

And by the end of today, about 75,000 feet of boom -- out of a total of 1.7 million feet that has been placed out in the three states -- was expected to be removed from some of the "most sensitive areas," Seilhan said. That includes some put out in Mobile Bay and Bayou La Batre.
READ MORE ONLINE AT AL.COM

Obama adopts recommendations of Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force
Copyright 2010 Office of the President of the US. All rights reserved.
July 19, 2021 - President Obama signed an Executive Order today establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes. The executive order adopts the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and directs federal agencies to take the appropriate steps to implement them. whitehouse.gov

The Executive Order strengthens ocean governance and coordination, establishes guiding principles for ocean management, and adopts a flexible framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning to address conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes.
READ MORE ONLINE AT WHITEHOUSE.GOV

No oil leaking as BP conducts
tests in well
Copyright 2010 CNN. All rights reserved.
CNN
July 16, 2021 - New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) -- For the first time in nearly three months, oil has stopped flowing into the Gulf of Mexico as BP proceeds with a highly anticipated test designed to measure pressure within its ruptured oil well.

The move is being lauded as a positive step, accompanied by a strong note of caution that the cutoff is simply part of the test, as BP and government experts assess how the well is holding up.

All vessels near well head on July 18 - click to enlarge
All vessels near well head on July 18, 2010.
Graphic by Unified Command for the Deepwater BP Oil Spill > VIEW LARGE

The test got under way Thursday after two days of delays, first as government scientists scrutinized testing procedures and then as BP replaced a leaking piece of equipment known as a choke line.

The oil stopped flowing early Thursday afternoon, according to BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells. And a series of cameras below the surface clearly showed the halt -- a far different scene from the images day after day of a relentless flow.

The data are being particularly closely scrutinized at six-hour intervals. Higher pressure readings mean the well is containing the oil, while lower pressure means some is leaking out.

The "well integrity" test could end after one of the six-hour periods if the results are disappointing. But it could go on for 48 hours. The longer it goes, the better indications are that the well is holding with a custom-made sealing cap.

BP cautioned that the oil cutoff, while welcomed, isn't likely to go beyond the 48 hours.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT CNN

Animal autopsies in Gulf
reveal only a mystery
Copyright 2010 New York Times. All rights reserved. By Shaila Dewan
New York Times
July 14, 2021 - GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle lay belly-up on the metal autopsy table, as pallid as split-pea soup but for the bright orange X spray-painted on its shell, proof that it had been counted as part of the Gulf of Mexico’s ongoing “unusual mortality event.” Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Under the practiced knife of Dr. Brian Stacy, a veterinary pathologist who estimates that he has dissected close to 1,000 turtles over the course of his career, the specimen began to reveal its secrets: First, as the breastplate was lifted away, a mass of shriveled organs in the puddle of stinky red liquid that is produced as decomposition advances. Next, the fat reserves indicating good health. Then, as Dr. Stacy sliced open the esophagus, the most revealing clue: a morsel of shrimp, the last thing the turtle ate.

“You don’t see shrimp consumed as part of the normal diet” of Kemp’s ridleys, Dr. Stacy said.

This turtle, found floating in the Mississippi Sound on June 18, is one of hundreds of dead creatures collected along the Gulf Coast since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded. Swabbed for oil, tagged and wrapped in plastic “body bags” sealed with evidence tape, the carcasses — many times the number normally found at this time of year — are piling up in freezer trucks stationed along the coast, waiting for scientists like Dr. Stacy, who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to begin the process of determining what killed them.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT THE NEW YORK TIMES

Largest oil spill response continues; skimmers mass at well site
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 11, 2021 - NEW ORLEANS - The Unified Area Command announced Sunday that the skimmer fleet supporting the Deepwater Horizon Response Operations doubled the volume of oil skimmed near the well site Saturday.

The skimming armada capitalized on good weather conditions and surged to the site to confront the anticipated increased oil flow from the current operation to remove the top cap and install the capping stack. The skimmers were able to skim an estimated 25,500 barrels of oily water Saturday, doubling the amount collected the previous day.

"As BP transitions to the new cap, we have massed our best skimming forces at the source of the oil, 40 miles offshore,” said Rear Adm. James Watson, Federal On Scene Coordinator for the Deepwater Hoizon Response. "The skimmers join a total force of 65 vessels that are supporting an effort to kill the well and collect the oil offshore before it hits the beaches and marshes. This represents the world's largest collection of skimmers located in one area. These are a very important few days and we will continue to work around the clock and use everything at our disposal to mitigate the oil's impacts."

Currently 46 skimmers are operating at the well site, where crews continue to work around the clock to place a new capping stack on the blowout preventer to contain the oil. The skimmer force working at the well site is part of the fleet of more than 570 skimmers conducting the largest oil spill response in U.S. history.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Local Louisiana firm retrofits
bird rehabilitation facility
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 10, 2021 - New Orleans - A local Louisiana firm - Pevey Construction, LLC of Ponchatoula - has been selected to retrofit an existing building in Hammond, Louisiana, to become the new Bird Rehabilitation Facility. Work began July 4 and major projects are expected to be completed in two to three weeks. The 2010 Hurricane Season is already underway and all efforts are being made to complete the move to the Hammond facility before a hurricane requires an evacuation.

The Hammond Bird Rehabilitation Facility will replace the Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Facility. Hammond is outside of the three phase hurricane evacuation zones, therefore minimizing the possibility of evacuations during the 2010 hurricane season.

The Hammond Bird Rehabilitation Facility is 30,000 square feet and has the capacity to care for approximately 2,000 birds. The Hammond Facility is on an eight-acre campus with existing buildings in a quiet, non-residential area.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Agencies safeguard sea turtle nests; FedEx provides transportation
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 9, 2021 - The first of several hundred sea turtle nests on beaches from Alabama across the Florida panhandle was excavated and moved to Florida’s East Coast today. The loggerhead nest of roughly 100 eggs was excavated from a site near St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve outside St. Joe, Florida.

“This is an extraordinary rescue mission to deal with an unprecedented threat to iconic and endangered sea turtles,” said Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “Nothing on this scale has ever been attempted, but the scientific consensus is that it is worth the risk given the magnitude of the threat.”

FedEx Custom Critical provided specialized transportation and will move hundreds of other nests to Florida’s east coast adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center for final incubation and hatchling release. Dozens of nest relocations are expected to take place over the next several weeks.

“Kennedy is uniquely situated on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Canaveral National Seashore. We are home to many species of protected wildlife and we hope to provide these sea turtles with a better chance of survival,” said Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Website seeks information on oil-spill research, monitoring activities
Copyright 2010 Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant. All rights reserved.
July 9, 2021 - Scientists performing oil spill-related research and monitoring activities are encouraged to enter their information into the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Research and Monitoring Activities DatabaseDeepwater Horizon Oil Spill Research and Monitoring Activities Database.

Researchers may enter their projects in less than 5 minutes per activity. People interested in viewing the information can perform queries or view all activities on the website.

Numerous organizations have provided input and endorse this online clearinghouse, which contains brief descriptions of oil spill-related research, monitoring and restoration activities that are occurring at or funded by universities and state and federal agencies.

In addition to coordinating existing research activities, Sea Grant has developed a webpage that lists opportunities for researchers and others to find oil-spill-related research, monitoring and restoration funding opportunities.

For more information about these activities, contact Steve Sempier at stephen.sempier@usm.edu.

Letter from BP Chief Managing
Director Bob Dudley
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.

To: National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen
From: Bob Dudley, President and CEO, BP Gulf Coast Restoration

Dear Admiral Allen:

Thank you for you letter dated July 8, 2021 acknowledging the next stage of the Deepwater Response that we are entering. BP has continued to work through Unified Area BP Chief Managing Director Bob DudleyCommand and the Federal On-Scene Coordinator to implement agreed plans for subsea collection. The plans presented below have been developed in consultation with the DOE, DOI, Federal Scientific Technical Team, BOEMRE, Coast Guard and through direct daily dialog with Secretary Salazar, Secretary Chu and their offices.

As part of our agreed long term containment plans the implementation of the capping stack has always been recognized as a critical component. In previous plans we have scheduled the start of the capping stack installation following the HELIX Producer start-up of containment operations. As weather has impacted our ability to execute these activities in series we, in conjunction with government experts, have proposed that the capping stack procedure be implemented in parallel with the start-up of the Helix Producer. This timing takes advantage of a projected weather window of some 8 days as projected by NOAA. As noted in your letter, if the capping stack installation is executed in parallel with and ahead of the Helix Producer start-up, the Q4000 would be the sole oil collection system running during a substantial part of the operation.
READ LETTER (PDF) ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Administration launches centralized, streamlined oil spill response website
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 7, 2021 - WASHINGTON - National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen today announced the launch of a new federal web portal — RestoreTheGulf.govRestoreTheGulf.gov website — dedicated to providing the American people with clear and accessible information and resources related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill response and recovery.

RestoreTheGulf.gov is designed to serve as a one-stop repository for news, data and operational updates related to administration-wide efforts to stop the BP oil leak and mitigate its impact on the environment, the economy and public health—unifying web resources across the administration and increasing public access to the latest information.

The site offers easy-to-navigate information about the claims and appeals process—as well as other types of assistance available from federal, state, local and non-government sources—for individuals, businesses and communities who have been affected by the spill. It will also contain information about plans for the long-term economic and environmental restoration in the Gulf Coast region.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Fish & Wildlife Service addresses urgent habitat needs for wildlife
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 7, 2021 - WASHINGTON - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is coordinating efforts along the Gulf Coast to safeguard wildlife such as shorebirds, waterfowl, USFWS Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Responsemarsh birds, sea birds and sea turtles from the effects of oil. Working closely with state, federal and non-government partners, the Service is identifying the most pressing habitat needs of these at-risk species, recommending strategic habitat conservation activities to address those needs, and helping to implement projects along the coast from Florida to Texas.

Based on the current distribution and impacts of oil along the Gulf’s marshes and coastline and the millions of waterfowl and shorebirds that will soon migrate through or will spend the winter in this area, Service biologists are working to restore and bolster wetland habitats and food sources in nearby, uncontaminated areas in Louisiana, the Chenier Plain of east Texas, and the lower portion of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Tar balls reveal biological legacy
of Gulf's early life
Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle. All rights reserved. By Eric Berger.
July 7, 2021 - Those gooey dime- and quarter-size tar balls washing up in the Texas surf last weekend bore more than just an ugly reminder of the catastrophic oil gushing into the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Tar balls on Texas beachesTar balls carry a biological legacy of the algae, plants and marine life that died and, over millions of years, formed oil. And this particular oil has much to tell us about the hot, dry and salty origins of the Gulf.

"With each bit of oil you have a window into the chemistry of what the world was like when these oils formed," said Norman Guinasso, Jr., director of the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group at Texas A&M; University.

The distinctive chemistry of oil found a mile deep in the Mississippi Canyon, off the Louisiana coast, allowed the U.S. Coast Guard to promptly and unambiguously determine that tar balls found on Crystal Beach during the July Fourth weekend came from the BP spill.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Navy airship to aid in oil spill response
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 5, 2021 - WASHINGTON - The U.S. Navy MZ-3A Airship is en route to Gulf Coast and expected to arrive after July 6 at Jack Edwards National U.S. Navy MZ-3A Airship - Photo: U.S. NavyAirport in Gulf Shores, Ala. The airship was requested by the U.S. Coast Guard to support Deepwater Horizon Response operations of the Unified Area Command. The airship will be used to detect oil, direct skimming vessels, and look for wildlife that may be threatened by oil. The airship began the flight to the Gulf Coast last month in Yuma, Ariz. The airship is a commercial A-1-70 series blimp, manufactured by the American Blimp Corporation.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Funding opportunities arise from spill
July 5, 2021 - In light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, two different funding opportunities have become available, one from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and another from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The NSF has highlighted its Rapid Response Research (RAPID) mechanism as a means for NSF to receive and review proposals having severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to, data, facilities or specialized equipment, as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events. RAPID is a special grant mechanism developed specifically to respond to unusual circumstances where a timely response is essential to achieving research results.

Through its new Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative, NRCS will improve habitat conditions and food sources for migratory birds likely to be impacted by the conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. This initiative will be delivered through two components: one component will be available on private agricultural lands and the second on Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) easement lands. NRCS will be working in cooperation with private landowners and other partners to establish habitat and food sources as well as improve the overall habitat management on participating lands.

Device improves oil recovery efforts, brings work to shipyards, shops
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 5, 2021 - MOBILE, Ala. - Just weeks after the first Heavy Oil Recovery Device (HORD) was successfully tested in the Gulf of Mexico off the shores of Alabama, the innovative devices are greatly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the cleanup operation. The HORD, originally dubbed Tarball Retrieval Device, is being manufactured at the rate of 8-10 units per day in shipyards in Pensacola, Fla., and Bayou La Batre, Ala. Up to 1,000 units are expected to be manufactured and put into service in the coming weeks.

The HORD has proven to be especially effective in collecting the thick, heavy oil that hampers traditional skimming methods. It is also able to cleanup the extremely light and difficult to remove sheen left on the water surface after skimming.

The brainchild of Capt. Gerry Matherne, the HORD exemplifies the adage “necessity is the mother of invention.” Matherne, a supertanker captain and second generation seaman, who is under contract with BP, realized early on that something different was needed to quickly and effectively deal with the sticky, orange globs of oil (known as tarballs) floating just under the water’s surface.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

1979's Ixtoc oil well blowout has startling parallels to current disaster
Copyright 2010 The Times-Picayune. All rights reserved. By Ramon Antonio Vargas nola.com
July 4, 2021 - CIUDAD DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- With each failed attempt to cap the oil spill in the Gulf, the nightmare intensified.

Some days, the oil sent a pungent odor over city streets, causing people headaches. Always, there was fear. Residents worried the crude would forever foul the sandy beaches dotting their shores and wipe out habitat for shrimp and fish in a place where thousands of people made their living from the sea.


Fisherman repair their nets in the Mexican coastal town of Ciudad del Carmen. Thirty-one years after the Ixtoc oil rig explosion and spill, there's not much fishing work. Chris Granger, The Times-Picayune

The 1979 Ixtoc I exploratory oil well blowout in the Bay of Campeche caused what was then history's largest accidental marine oil spill, spewing at least 3 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico -- an amount that may have already been surpassed by the Macondo well blowout on April 20. As the BP disaster will doubtlessly change New Orleans and coastal Louisiana, Ixtoc profoundly remade Mexico's Ciudad del Carmen, the nearest community.

But the changes were surprising in ways. Though it took 10 months for the oil company to finally plug the leak, the threat of environmental catastrophe never fully materialized. Ciudad del Carmen managed to evolve and even prosper -- in the process growing into a much larger city than it had ever been.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT NOLA.COM

NOAA models long-term oil threat to Gulf and East Coast shoreline
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 2, 2021 - WASHINGTON – NOAA has used modeling of historical wind and ocean currents to project the likelihood that surface oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill will impact additional U.S. coastline. This modeling, part of NOAA’s comprehensive response to the unprecedented Gulf oil disaster, can help guide the ongoing preparedness, response and cleanup efforts.

“This NOAA model shows where oil may be likely to travel, thereby giving coastal states and communities information about potential threats of shoreline impacts. This kind of information should assist in the preparation of adequate preparedness measures,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA is strongly committed to providing reliable information to the public and to responders at all levels.”

In the technical report being released today, the model’s results aggregate information from 500 distinct scenarios (model outcomes). Each assumes a 90-day oil flow rate of 33,000 barrels per day – the net amount from the flow rate ceiling of 60,000 barrels per day (the lower bound is 35,000 barrels/day) minus the daily estimated amount being skimmed, burned, and/or collected by the Top Hat mechanism.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Scripps responds to the Gulf oil spill
Copyright 2010 Scripps Institute of Oceanography. All rights reserved.
July 1, 2021 - On April 20, the explosion and subsequent sinking of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon triggered a seafloor oil leak that had ejected at least six million gallons of oil into Scripps responds to the Gulf oil spillthe Gulf of Mexico as of May 20. As the ensuing human and environmental catastrophe unfolds, Scripps research expertise is being brought to bear to monitor and evaluate atmosphere and ocean conditions.

Scripps scientists perform a variety of research in the oil spill region:

Climate and Physical Oceanography
• Scripps researchers have conducted surveys of the Gulf of Mexico using Spray gliders. In response to the Deepwater Horizon incident, Scripps researchers diverted another Spray instrument originally intended for deployment off the California coast to the gulf in an attempt to assess the dimensions of the mass of leaking oil spreading in the gulf's water column. Researchers have outfitted the glider, which was deployed on June 7, with a fluorometer and an acoustic doppler profiler to image the dispersed oil by two different means.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT SCRIPPS


Endangered sea turtle nests to receive special transportation
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 1, 2021 - NEW ORLEANS - The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is proud to announce that FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) is joining the efforts to protect sea turtle nests and eggs from potential impacts of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The company will be donating resources to transport hundreds of nests containing thousands of eggs to Florida’s Atlantic Coast and its logistics experts are working the Unified Command and its partner organizations to implement this complex translocation. The relocation efforts are scheduled to begin in mid-July and continue throughout the hatching season.

FedEx is working closely with Unified Command Wildlife Branch scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA and other partners to create the safest transportation solution for the relocation effort. FedEx will take extensive precautions to protect the sea turtle nests and eggs, which will travel exclusively in its FedEx Custom Critical air-ride, temperature-controlled vehicles.

“In light of the imminent threat to sea turtles, we felt it was important to help move this extraordinary project forward,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director of NFWF. “Given our strong partnership with FedEx and our long standing relationship with the federal agencies, we were able to move quickly to develop an effective plan. We’ll continue to work with all parties so that this relocation offers the best hope for sea turtles’ survival.”
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

EPA releases first round of toxicity testing data for eight oil dispersants
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
July 1, 2021 - WASHINGTON — The US Environmental Protection Agency today released peer-reviewed results from the first round of its own independent toxicity testing on eight oil dispersants. EPA conducted testing to ensure that decisions about ongoing dispersant use in the Gulf of Mexico continue to be grounded in the best available science.

EPA’s results indicated that none of the eight dispersants tested, including the product in use in the Gulf, displayed biologically significant endocrine disrupting activity. While the dispersant products alone – not mixed with oil – have roughly the same impact on aquatic life, JD-2000 and Corexit 9500 were generally less toxic to small fish and JD-2000 and SAF-RON GOLD were least toxic to mysid shrimp. While this is important information to have, additional testing is needed to further inform the use of dispersants.

"EPA is performing independent tests to determine the potential impacts of various dispersants. We will continue to conduct additional research before providing a final recommendation, " said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "We want to ensure that every tool is available to mitigate the impact of the BP spill and protect our fragile wetlands. But we continue to direct BP to use dispersants responsibly and in as limited an amount as possible."
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System employ underwater gliders
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
June 30, 2021 - WASHINGTON – Using underwater unmanned gliders and coastal high-frequency radar stations, NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) and its regional partners from across the nation are capturing data that will assist in the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill response by locating and tracking oil at various levels in the water column as well as on the Gulf surface.

Ten unmanned underwater robots equipped with sensors called fluorometers will measure matter in the water, which can help indicate the presence of oil. Scientists, however, must still confirm oil presence through water sampling. Gliders are also capable of collecting temperature, salinity, currents, density and additional variables that describe conditions below the surface of the sea. The gliders travel at various depths. Some gliders dive no deeper than 100 feet, while others are capable of collecting data nearly a mile underwater.

Glider technology is unique in that it collects data throughout the water column at relatively low cost and at no risk to human life. This is the first oil spill response in the United States where this technology has been applied.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Oil-spill response plan to protect sea turtle nests and hatchlings released
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
June 26, 2021 - WASHINGTON – Unified Command Wildlife Branch scientists and partner organizations are implementing an extraordinary plan to protect sea turtle nests and eggs from potential impacts of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The plan, entitled Sea Turtle Late-Term Nest Collection and Hatchling Release Plan, was developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA-Fisheries), and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), and involves translocation of an anticipated 700 nests in an effort to prevent the loss of the entire cohort of hatchlings.

The plan takes a proactive approach to minimize oil-spill impacts by ensuring nests are marked to prevent damage from beach clean-up operations, and by coordinating the collection of nests at a point in the incubation cycle where transport is less likely to result in the loss of viable eggs.

“Permitted nest surveyors have been in the field locating and marking nests daily since the start of the nesting season,” said Sandy MacPherson, FWS national sea turtle coordinator. “Data on the nest location and the date deposited are being closely tracked. This allows us certainty in timing the nest collection phase of the plan.”
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Administration's group releases first scientific report on data from Gulf spill
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
June 23, 2021 - WASHINGTON – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) today released the first peer reviewed, analytical summary report about the subsea monitoring in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead.

The report contains analysis of samples taken by the R/V Brooks McCall, a research vessel conducting water sampling from half a mile to nine miles of the wellhead. These data have been used on an ongoing basis to help guide the Government’s decisions about the continued use of subsea dispersant.

The report comes from the Joint Analysis Group (JAG), which was established to facilitate cooperation and coordination among the best scientific minds across the government and provide a coordinated analysis of information related to subsea monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico. This comprehensive analysis helps define the characteristics of the water and presence of oil below the surface in the area close to the well-head from May 8-25.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

NOAA opens 8,000+ square miles of fishing closed area in Gulf of Mexico
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
June 23, 2021 - WASHINGTON – NOAA has opened more than 8,000 square miles of previously closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico, because the agency has not observed oil in the area. The most significant opening is an area due south of Mississippi which was closed Monday, June 21.

Additionally, some smaller areas were opened off the Louisiana and central Florida coasts. These areas were initially closed as a precaution because oil was projected to be within those areas over the next few days. However, the review of satellite imagery, radar and aerial data indicated that oil had not moved into these areas.

The federal closed area does not apply to any state waters. Closing fishing in this area is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers.

The closed area now represents 78,597 square miles, which is approximately 32.5 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. This leaves more than two-thirds of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. The closure will be effective at 6 p.m. EDT.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Endangered-species status
sought for bluefin tuna
Copyright 2010 New York Times. By Andrew W. Lehren and Justin Gillis
June 23, 2021 - Fearing that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will deal a severe blow to the bluefin tuna, an environmental group is demanding that the government declare the fish an endangered species, New York Timessetting off extensive new protections under federal law.

Scientists agree that the Deepwater Horizon spill poses at least some risk to the bluefin, one of the most majestic — and valuable — fishes in the sea. Its numbers already severely depleted from record levels, the bluefin is also the subject of a global controversy regarding overfishing.

This bluefin was caught on a charter last month ...
This bluefin was caught on a charter last month, but several tournaments have been canceled.  Chris Bickford/New York Times

The bluefin is not the only fish that spawns in the gulf, and while it is often a focus of attention, researchers are worried about the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on many other species.

In fact, scientists say, it is virtually certain that billions of fish eggs and larvae have died in the spill, which came at the worst possible time of the year. Spawning season for many fish in the gulf begins in April and runs into the summer. The drilling rig exploded on April 20, and the spill has since covered thousands of square miles with patches of oil.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT NEW YORK TIMES

USA Today launches online
interactive oil spill map
Copyright 2010 USAToday. All rights reserved.
USA Today map
June 21, 2021 - USAToday newspaper launched a new interactive map of the Gulf of Mexico on its website entitled, "Environmental impacts of the oil spill on the Gulf."
   The map Includes four different layers, each which shows a different way that the spill is impacting the Gulf shores. The four layers include: Environment and recreation, Gulf photos/reader responses, Spill tracker/Numbers, and Wildlife habitats.
VIEW USA TODAY'S GULF SPILL MAP


NOAA launches enhanced Essential Fish Habitat Mapper v2.0
Copyright 2010 NOAA. All rights reserved.
Essential Fish Habitat Mapper v2.0
June 21, 2021 - NOAA announces the launch of the enhanced Essential Fish Habitat Mapper and EFH Data Inventory. The new EFH Mapper now features data on EFH areas protected from fishing, including protections anchoring restrictions, fishing gear modifications, and bans on certain types of gear, among others.

The new online mapper will answer the following questions:

  • Which fish species spawn in the Gulf of Mexico?
  • Whether are especially vulnerable coral habitats off the coast of your state?
  • Where NOAA has protected fish habitat from damaging fishing gear?

The EFH Mapper is just one of the tools featured in the full redesign of NOAA Fisheries' Office of Habitat Conservation website.
NOAA'S ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT MAPPER


Anomalously high water temperatures in Florida, Bahamas
Copyright 2010 NOAA. All rights reserved.
June 20, 2021 - NOAA - Our satellite data show that sea surface temperature (SST) along the Florida coast and in the Keys has taken a dramatic upturn since mid-May (2010), with this year seeing first an extreme cold outbreak earlier this year and now an extremely warm spring season. NOAA

SST in the region increased significantly in mid-May with a dramatic increase near 2ºC over several days at some locations. Another SST hike started in early June and continues along the Florida coast, in the Keys, and also in the Bahamas. These two events pushed the SST in the region way above what we have seen in our satellite data from the past 10 years for the region. At many locations, SSTs are now more than 1ºC above the highest SSTs observed at this time of the year. At some locations, SST has already reached a level that is not usually reached until late July to early August and exceeds the thresholds for developing coral bleaching. In fact, all of our Florida reef pixels currently are at Bleaching Watch or Bleaching Warning status. Most pixels through the Greater and Lesser Antilles and around the Caribbean coast of South and Central America are at Bleaching Watch as well.

Surface wind speed has been low during the past few days in the region. It may accelerate the already significant warming, if persistent.

This summer is most likely a stressful bleaching season for the corals along the Florida coast, in the Keys, and in the Bahamas. The forecasted active hurricane season may relieve the bleaching thermal stress as the hurricanes did in 2005, but this will depend on storm tracks.

Anomalously warm conditions have existed across most the Caribbean since January and our Outlook product shows potential for strong warming this year in the Caribbean and Western Pacific.

Encyclopedia chronicles Gulf oil spill
June 18, 2021 - The Encyclopedia of the Earth (EoE) website offers a comprehensive collection of facts, photos and figures from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
   The EoE website provides resource information about the Earth, its natural Encyclopedia of the Earthenvironments and their interaction with society. It offers a free, searchable collection of articles written by scholars, professionals, educators and experts who collaborate and review each other's work. The articles are written in non-technical language and will be useful to students, educators, scholars, professionals, as well as to the general public.
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE EARTH'S "DEEPWATER HORIZON" COLLECTION


USFWS creates Gulf Spill Mapper
Copyright 2010 USFWS. All rights reserved.
June 11, 2021 - As a response to the Gulf oil spill, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) added a new Gulf Spill Mapper to its website, which serves as an extension of the updated Wetlands Mapper developed to support the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) FWS Gulf Spill Mapper - click to opendataset.

The new mapper was created on relatively short turn around and is intended to be a tool to assist decision makers in viewing fish and wildlife resource areas that may be impacted by the oil spill in the Gulf.

The new FWS mapper uses composites of existing datasets from Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), NWI, Refuges, as well as other publicly available data depicting state and nongovernmental sanctuaries and preserves that form a network of fish and wildlife resource areas along the Gulf of Mexico.

An interesting feature on this latest version is the hurricane tracks from storms since 1990, since storm tracks in the Gulf have the potential to influence oil on the surface and subsurface.
VIEW FWS INTERACTIVE GULF MAPPER

Scientists find signs of Dead Zones
Copyright 2010 Wall Street Journal. All rights reserved. By ROBERT LEE HOTZ
The Wall Street JournalJune 9, 2021 - A research team said it had found evidence of dead zones being drained of life-giving oxygen deep in the Gulf of Mexico, as scientists on Tuesday reported new details of vast submerged clouds of oil and natural gas billowing from a well on the sea floor.

Also on Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acknowledged the existence of swathes of underwater oil many miles from the wellhead, which has been spewing oil since April 20.See graphics covering how the spill happened, what's being done to stop it, and the impact on the region. For weeks, federal scientists at the agency had discounted reports of subsurface plumes.

The agency's chief administrator, Jane Lubchenco, said Tuesday, "NOAA is confirming the presence of very low concentrations of subsurface oil."

Samantha Joye, a senior marine scientist at the University of Georgia who just completed a two-week research expedition through the spill zone, said Tuesday that her instrument readings revealed levels of methane gas dissolved in deep seawater that were between 100 times and 10,000 times higher than normally found in the Gulf waters. Such unusually high levels of methane may be spurring the growth of microbes that, in turn, deplete the oxygen on which fish and other marine organisms depend, she said.

"I've never seen concentrations of methane this high anywhere," said Dr. Joye, who analyzed samples from a submerged oil plume that she said was 15 miles long, five miles wide and 300 feet thick. "The whole water column has less oxygen than it normally does."
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Mapping the response to BP Oil Spill
Copyright 2010 NOAA. All rights reserved.
NOAA's new online map for BP Oil Spill
June 18, 2021 - NOAA - A new online mapping tool from NOAA's Environmental Response Management Application provides users with near-real time information about the response effort to the BP Oil Spill. Developed by NOAA with the EPA, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Interior, the site offers users a “one-stop shop” for spill response information.

The site integrates the latest data the federal responders have about the oil spill’s trajectory with fishery area closures, wildlife data and place-based Gulf Coast resources — such as pinpointed locations of oiled shoreline and current positions of deployed research ships — into one customizable interactive map.
USE ONLINE INTERACTIVE MAP

GCOOS looking for qualified
individuals for oil spill relief jobs
Copyright 2010 GCOOS. All rights reserved.
June 8, 2021 - The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Regional Association has been asked to identify qualified individuals in the GCOOS community who might be available to assist Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing Systemwith the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Incident.

One of the most pressing needs is for experienced cruise technicians who can serve as conduits of vessel-based data. Ideally they would be available in two-week (or greater) rotations so training and turnover demands can be minimized. Personnel would be brought on under contractual basis by NOAA. Skills needed include: good overall experience with ship-acquired oceanographic data, basic data management skills, and major endurance capability. This is not for the faint of heart.

If you know someone who might be qualified and interested, please send Ann Jochens (ajochens@tamu.edu) the name, affiliation, and contact information. She will pass the information along to the NOAA contact. Thank you for your assistance. VISIT CGOS WEBSITE

NOAA launches new website:
'State of the Coast'
Copyright 2010 NOAA. All rights reserved.
NOAA's State of the Coast website

SILVER SPRINGS, MD - June 8, 2021 - This week NOAA launched NOAA's State of the Coast website. The purpose of this site is to highlight the crucial importance of healthy coastal ecosystems to a robust U.S. economy, a safe population, and a sustainable quality of life for coastal residents.

NOAA's State of the Coast offers quick facts and more detailed statistics through fifteen interactive indicator visualizations that provide highlights of what we know about coastal communities, coastal ecosystems, the coastal economy, and how a changing climate might impact the coast. Explore topics such as changes in coastal population from 1970 to 2040, the impact coastal areas have on the U.S. economy, the overall health of the U.S. coast, and the vulnerability of our coasts to long term sea level rise. VISIT NOAA'S STATE OF THE COAST WEBSITE

Exercise caution when making oil spill compensation decisions
Copyright 2010 The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program. All rights reserved.
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS - May 21, 2021 - Since the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, massive amounts of oil have entered the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast residents have been the targets of aggressive advertising campaigns by law firms seeking clients for oil spill-related litigation. Many Gulf Coast residents have suffered significant losses in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and are entitled to compensation from BP and other responsible parties. Residents and businesses, however, need to exercise caution in the aftermath of this disaster to ensure that their initial actions do not affect their future legal rights.

What Alabamians should know about oil spill legal issues

What Mississippians should know about oil spill legal issues

Gulf recovered from last big oil spill,
but is this one different?
Copyright 2010 Miami Herald. All rights reserved.
MEXICO CITY - May 20, 2021 - The Ixtoc 1 oil spill in Mexico's shallow Campeche Sound three decades ago serves as a distant mirror to today's BP deepwater blowout, and marine scientists are still pondering what they learned from its aftereffects.

Gulf oil spill composite - May 21 2010 - CLICK TO ENLARGEIn terms of blowouts, Ixtoc 1 was a monster — until the ongoing BP leak, the largest accidental spill in history. Some 3.3 million barrels of oil gushed over nearly 10 months, spreading an oil slick as far north as Texas, where gooey tar balls washed up on beaches.

Surprisingly, Mexican scientists say that Campeche Sound itself recovered rather quickly, and a sizable shrimp industry returned to normal within two years.

Luis A. Soto, a deep-sea biologist, had earned his doctorate from the University of Miami a year before the June 3, 1979, blowout of Ixtoc 1 in 160 feet of water in the Campeche Sound, the shallow, oil-rich continental shelf off the Yucatan Peninsula.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT MIAMI HERALD

Alabama senator announces
Gulf coast assistance
Copyright 2010 Sen Richard Shelby. All rights reserved.
WASHINGTON, DC - May 13, 2021 - Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $118 million in funding related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that was included in the fiscal year 2010 Supplemental Appropriations bill.

“Today is the 24th day that oil has poured into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the explosion on the BP rig,” said Shelby. “The future of the Gulf Coast is dependent upon the federal government’s oversight to see us through this catastrophe. We need to continue to adequately fund mitigation, restoration, and cleanup efforts to help our coastal communities get back on their feet with minimal disruption and financial harm. I will work to make certain that Alabama receives its fair share of this funding.”

Specifically, the bill includes the funding for the following programs:

  • Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund
    The bill would permit the Coast Guard to obtain one or more advances (up to $100M each) from the Principal Fund within the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to underwrite the federal response activities.
  • Food Safety - $2 Million The bill will allow the FDA to monitor and respond to the environmental impact of the oil on seafood fished from the Gulf.
  • Offshore Oil Exploration Monitoring - $29 Million
  • Secretary of the Interior for additional inspections, enforcement, studies and other activities related to the oil spill in the Gulf. It also extends the time allowed for MMS to review/approve oil and gas lessee exploration plans to allow additional time for required review.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT SENATOR SHELBY'S WEBSITE

Runoff clouds Tortola waters
Copyright 2010 BVI Beacon. All rights reserved.
ROAD TOWN, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS - May 12, 2021 - Heavy rains, new development and unpaved roads left unchecked led to runoff clouding bays along Tortola’s northern shore on Friday. Biologist Dr. Lianna Jarecki — who witnessed the runoff from her Mt. Healthy home where she has lived for the past five years — said the problem is growing.

“I’ve seen gradually more sediment coming off as they build more roads and sites,” Dr. Jarecki said. “In the last year, they have completed all these government roads. It’s the first time I’ve seen it so dramatic from all the roads, into all the bays.”

Other Virgin Islands residents reported similar events. From her home in Long Trench, Caroline Barden described the road at the bottom of Johnsons Ghut as a lake. “I thought gosh — every time we have a big rain that is the effect,” Ms. Barden said.

Readers also sent the Beacon photographs of Paraquita Bay, where topsoil from the site for the new greenhouses appeared to have washed into the sea, and Brewers Bay, which was almost completely beige-coloured.

Runoff following the rain is destructive to the marine environment, scientists say. “[The sediment] pretty much smothers the benthic habitat,” Dr. Jarecki explained in an interview on Monday morning. According to the biologist, the sediment covers coral reefs, adds different minerals and nutrients to the water, and carries diseases and soil fungi.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT BVI BEACON

Breton National Wildlife Refuge
closed to public entry
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
LOUISIANA - May 7, 2021 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed the Breton National Wildlife Refuge to public entry. This closure covers all of Breton NWR, which includes the Chandeleur Islands chain (Chandeleur, Grand Gossier, Curlew, New Harbor Island, North Islands, Free Mason).

The refuge closure is important to keep the public safe, to minimize disturbance to nesting colonial sea birds, and to allow personnel conducting cleanup operations and recovery efforts to work safely and efficiently.

The first shoreline impact of oil from the spill was confirmed late Wednesday afternoon at Breton, with oil on both sides of the southern half of the Chandeleur Islands. Overflight information indicated sheen and emulsified oil were observed around the islands.

Service personnel and oil response teams have been deployed to conduct and manage cleanup operations. Recoverable oil will be removed, impacted areas cleaned and protection efforts continued.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Funnel 'poised over' US oil spill
Copyright 2010 BBC. All rights reserved.
BBC video

GULF OF MEXICO - May 7, 2021 - A giant funnel has been positioned above a blown-out oil well on the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico in an attempt to contain oil leaking from it.

Remote-controlled submersibles have guided the 98-tonne device to 200ft (61m) above the main leak, some 5,000 ft (1,500m) below the surface.

It is hoped it will be able to collect as much as 85% of the oil and begin funnelling it to ships above by Monday.

Oil from the slick has washed ashore on islands off the coast of Louisiana.

US officials announced on Friday they had closed Breton National Wildlife Refuge to the public after a silver sheen of oil reached the shoreline. The refuge includes the Chandeleur Islands chain.

"The refuge closure is important to keep the public safe, to minimize disturbance to nesting colonial sea birds, and to allow personnel conducting cleanup operations and recovery efforts to work safely and efficiently," the US Fish and Wildlife Service said.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE & WATCH VIDEO ONLINE AT BBC

NOAA update on sea turtle stranding
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
ROBERT, LA - May 5, 2021 - There have been 38 sea turtle strandings reported from Alabama through the Louisiana delta since April 30. Sea turtle stranding responders working under the guidance of NOAA – who responds to thousands of sea turtle strandings every year – recovered all but one of the turtles. All those recovered were dead except one, which died shortly thereafter. Most of the turtles identified so far are endangered juvenile Kemp’s ridley turtles. No evidence of oil was found on the beaches where the strandings occurred.

“Based on careful examination, NOAA scientists do not believe that these sea turtle strandings are related to the oil spill. NOAA and its partners have conducted 10 necropsies so far – none of ten turtles showed evidence of oil, externally or internally,” said Barbara Schroeder, NOAA national sea turtle coordinator.

The turtles have been sent to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss. to determine, if possible, whether their deaths are linked to oil, or another cause. Based on careful examination, NOAA scientists do not believe that these sea turtle strandings are related to the oil spill. NOAA and its partners have conducted 10 necropsies so far – none of ten turtles showed evidence of oil, externally or internally. At least 15 more necropsies of dead sea turtles are planned in the coming days. While the complete results can take several weeks because of the time needed to analyze tissue, preliminary results are available immediately after the necropsy itself, which takes several hours.

Potential Causes
There are thousands of sea turtle strandings reported every year in the Gulf of Mexico. In recent years, sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico have shown a pattern of increased stranding during this time of year. NOAA believes the stranding numbers are higher than normal and are working to understand why.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Smallest leak on damaged oil well capped, BP exec says
Copyright 2010 CNN. All rights reserved.
GULF OF MEXICO - May 5, 2021 - Crews working to stem the tide of oil in the Gulf of Mexico capped one of the three leaking points Wednesday, a BP executive said.

John Curry, director of external affairs for BP, said the leak that was capped was the smallest of three. Curry said the pipe was cut off and sealed with a slip valve. BP, which owns the damaged well, is responsible for the cleanup and costs of the massive oil spill. Workers with BP plan to start moving a four-story metal container Wednesday toward the spill that could get even worse.

The company has a risky plan to lower the container 5,000 feet into the water off Louisiana and position it above a ruptured oil pipe. If successful, the container would sit there like an upside-down funnel, sucking up oil that would otherwise add to the growing slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP plans to start moving the container toward the coast around noon Wednesday, said Doug Suttles, the company's chief operating officer. It will take a couple of hours to get to the coast and then a few more days to get the container in place, he said.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE & WATCH VIDEO ONLINE AT CNN

Gulf oil spill is bad, but how bad?
Copyright 2010 New York Times. All rights reserved. By John Broder and Tom Zeller
WASHINGTON - May 3, 2021 - The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is bad — no one would dispute it. But just how bad?

Some experts have been quick to predict apocalypse, painting grim pictures of 1,000 miles of irreplaceable wetlands and beaches at risk, fisheries damaged for seasons, fragile species wiped out and a region and an industry economically crippled for years. President Obama has called the spill “a potentially unprecedented environmental disaster.” And some scientists have suggested that the oil might hitch a ride on the loop current in the gulf, bringing havoc to the Atlantic Coast.

Yet the Deepwater Horizon blowout is not unprecedented, nor is it yet among the worst oil accidents in history. And its ultimate impact will depend on a long list of interlinked variables, including the weather, ocean currents, the properties of the oil involved and the success or failure of the frantic efforts to stanch the flow and remediate its effects.

As one expert put it, this is the first inning of a nine-inning game. No one knows the final score. The ruptured well, currently pouring an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the gulf, could flow for years and still not begin to approach the 36 billion gallons of oil spilled by retreating Iraqi forces when they left Kuwait in 1991. It is not yet close to the magnitude of the Ixtoc I blowout in the Bay of Campeche in Mexico in 1979, which spilled an estimated 140 million gallons of crude before the gusher could be stopped.

[Five paragraphs omitted]

“The sky is not falling,” said Quenton R. Dokken, a marine biologist and the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, a conservation group in Corpus Christi, Tex. “We’ve certainly stepped in a hole and we’re going to have to work ourselves out of it, but it isn’t the end of the Gulf of Mexico.”
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT NEW YORK TIMES

Remarks by the President on oil spill
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
VENICE, LA - May 2, 2021 - THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. First let me say a few words about the incident in New York City [two paragraphs about New York removed].

Now, we just finished a meeting with Admiral Thad Allen, our National Incident Commander for this spill, as well as Coast Guard personnel who are leading the response to this crisis. And they gave me an update on our efforts to stop the BP oil spill and mitigate the damage.

By the way, I just want to point out, I was told there was drizzling out here -- (laughter) -- is this Louisiana drizzle right here? (Laughter.)

They gave me a sense of how this spill is moving. It is now about nine miles off the coast of southeastern Louisiana. And by the way, we had the Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, as well as parish presidents who were taking part in this meeting, because we want to emphasize the importance of coordinating between local, state, and federal officials throughout this process.

Now, I think the American people are now aware, certainly the folks down in the Gulf are aware, that we're dealing with a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster. The oil that is still leaking from the well could seriously damage the economy and the environment of our Gulf states and it could extend for a long time. It could jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who call this place home.

And that's why the federal government has launched and coordinated an all-hands-on-deck, relentless response to this crisis from day one. After the explosion on the drilling rig, it began with an aggressive search-and-rescue effort to evacuate 115 people, including three badly injured. And my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the 11 workers who have not yet -- who have not been found.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Controlled burn scheduled to begin
Copyright 2010 Deepwater Horizon Response. All rights reserved.
NEW ORLEANS, LA - April 28, 2021 - The response to BP/Transocean's Deepwater Horizon incident continues as responders have scheduled a controlled, on-location burn to begin at approximately 11 a.m. CDT today — a strategy designed to minimize environmental risks by removing large quantities of oil in the Gulf of Mexico following the April 20 explosion.
Deepwater Horizon
Response vessels spray water on the blazing Deepwater Horizon before it sank on April 22 in the Gulf of Mexico. To remove oil on the surface, a controlled burn has been planned. (Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

Part of a coordinated response combining tactics deployed above water, below water, dozens of miles offshore, as well as closer to coastal areas, today's controlled burn will remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and marine and other wildlife.

Workboats will consolidate oil into a fire resistant boom approximately 500 feet long. This oil will then be towed to a more remote area, where it will be ignited and burned in a controlled manner. The plan calls for small, controlled burns of several thousand gallons of oil lasting approximately one hour each.

No populated areas are expected to be affected by the controlled burn operations and there are no anticipated impacts to marine mammals and sea turtles. In order to ensure safety, the Environmental Protection Agency will continuously monitor air quality and burning will be halted if safety standards cannot be maintained.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE

Scientist awarded $595,626 grant
to study coastal waters
Copyright 2010 Corpus Christi Caller-Times. All rights reserved. By Jaime Powell
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - April 22, 2021 - Nutrients that make grass greener and crops bigger are sucking up the Gulf of Mexico's oxygen and killing aquatic life, scientists believe.

University of Texas professor Ed Buskey and his colleagues hope to figure out how much fertilizer and treated wastewater runoff is too much. The runoff released into local bays and estuaries are some of the targets of a University of Texas Marine Science Institute study. Buskey received a three-year, $595,626 grant from the Gulf of Mexico Program to study Aransas and Copano bays. The program is a coalition of state, federal and local partners that work to protect, maintain and restore gulf health and productivity.

Generally, too many nutrients are thought to be detrimental to the ecosystem, Buskey said. "You have to have some to live, so you need some, but just like too many calories and too much food can be bad for your health, too much is bad," he said. "We will try to figure out what the optimum level is."

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous flow in high concentrations into the gulf providing optimal conditions for massive algal blooms that use the oxygen supply, creating "dead zones" -- vast areas with oxygen levels too low to support aquatic life-forms such as fish, Buskey said.

Buskey's team hopes the research will contribute to developing protective nutrient criteria for places like the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve ecosystem.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT CALLER-TIMES

NOAA seeking input for marine aquaculture policy
Copyright 2010 NOAA. All rights reserved.
ALEXANDRIA, VA - April 6, 2021 - NOAA is currently seeking public input to help shape the scope and objectives of a draft policy for marine aquaculture. NOAA is particularly interested in hearing ideas about how the policy can most effectively guide and support science; provide clear regulations; sNOAAupport outreach, education, and innovation; and define the U.S. role in this international industry. As a first step, NOAA is currently seeking broad input on the components of a draft aquaculture policy from interested stakeholders including communities, state and local governments, tribes, businesses, associations, the aquaculture industry, commercial and recreational fishermen, the seafood industry, non-governmental organizations, and the general public.

Stakeholders can participate in three ways - by participating in a listening session (calendar below), by submitting a comment online, or by participating in a national call-in. The details for all of these options are listed online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/policy1. The public input period will begin on April 6 and end on May 14, 2010.

After the listening sessions are over, NOAA will analyze the public input and develop a draft national policy for review and public comment. Once that process is complete, the agency will issue a new NOAA Aquaculture Policy which will provide a foundation for sustainable aquaculture that will create employment and business opportunities in coastal communities; provide safe, sustainable seafood; and complement NOAA's comprehensive strategy to maintain healthy and productive marine populations, species, and ecosystems and vibrant coastal communities.

The meeting will be held:
• April 19 in New Orleans, Louisiana
◦ Time: 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
◦ Location: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District Building
◦ Address: 7400 Leake Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118
◦ Note: You must present a U.S. government-issued photo ID to enter this building.

For more information, contact: Jess.Beck@noaa.gov or visit http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/policy1/

NOAA ship to map Gulf of Mexico
Copyright 2010 NOAA. All rights reserved.NOAA
ALEXANDRIA, VA - April 6, 2021 - NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, one of the most technologically advanced hydrographic survey vessels in the world, will depart its Norfolk, Va. homeport on April 6 to conduct a five-month long effort to map the seafloor and look for hazards to navigation off the Gulf coast.

“The Gulf of Mexico has been affected by a number of large hurricanes in recent years, and our work will pinpoint the resulting hazards and shoals in these busy waters,” NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson - photo by Dan Wrightsaid Cmdr. Shepard Smith, Thomas Jefferson’s commanding officer.

Thomas Jefferson’s primary mission is to collect and process the data needed to maintain and update the nautical charts along the U.S. East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nautical charts and other navigational products are available on the NOAA Office of Coast Survey’s Web site, http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov.

Extinction of coral reefs
could devastate nations
Copyright 2010 Durango Herald. All rights reserved. by Brian Skoloff, Associated Press
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - March 28, 2021 - Coral reefs are dying, and scientists and governments around the world are contemplating what will happen if they disappear altogether. The idea positively scares them.

Coral reefs are part of the foundation of the ocean food chain. Photo by Wilfredo Lee/AP - A NOAA researcher surveys a coral reef in the Florida KeysNearly half the fish the world eats make their homes around them. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide - by some estimates, 1 billion across Asia alone - depend on them for their food and their livelihoods.

If the reefs vanished, experts say, hunger, poverty and political instability could ensue.

“Whole nations will be threatened in terms of their existence," said Carl Gustaf Lundin of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Numerous studies predict coral reefs are headed for extinction worldwide, largely because of global warming, pollution and coastal development, but also because of damage from bottom-dragging fishing boats and the international trade in jewelry and souvenirs made of coral.

At least 19 percent of the world's coral reefs are already gone, including about 50 percent of those in the Caribbean. An additional 15 percent could be dead within 20 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT DURANGO HERALD

Experts say storm modeling
needs improvement
Copyright 2010 Daily Comet. All rights reserved. By Nikki Buskey, Staff Writer
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - March 17, 2021 - During hurricanes and tropical storms, surge predictions can vary in accuracy, and just a few feet can make a big difference for communities like Terrebonne and Lafourche.

A day before Hurricane Ike struck Hurricane Gustav makes landfall Sept. 1, 2008Terrebonne and Lafourche in 2008, storm-surge predictions varied from 5 to 8 feet for Terrebonne. The actual surge was closer to 10 feet, which overtopped all of the community's levees.

Storm surge accounts for 90 percent of deaths during hurricanes and has done extensive damage to the Louisiana coast. A National Hurricane Center scientist said Tuesday that the ability to accurately predict storm surge needs to improve so the threat can be efficiently communicated to coastal communities.

Jamie Rhome, a storm-surge specialist with the National Hurricane Center, spoke at the 2010 Central Gulf of Mexico Hurricane Conference in Baton Rouge. The two-day conference brings together federal hurricane experts, academics, emergency officials and local government representatives to discuss issues facing the state during the next hurricane season.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT THE DAILY COMET

'Sea monster' comes up with ROV
Sea monster? Click to enlarge The Gulf of Mexico Foundation received this image of what appears to be a Giant Isopod from an associate with the US Economic Development Administration. He reported that this creature came up from about 8,500 feet under water on a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) used at an offshore rig. The creature's “facial” features and seven pairs of legs fit the description of a Giant Isopod. However, that invertebrate is reported to max out at 16 inches, whereas this animal measured over 2 1/2 feet long. To one observer, it looked like an alien Junk Yard Dog. Anyone for sea-monster soup?


Wild freshwater turtles under siege
Copyright 2009 Environment News Service. All rights reserved.
Environment News Service
TUCSON, Arizona (ENS) - Conservation and health groups today filed emergency petitions with eight midwestern and southern states, seeking to end the commercial harvest of freshwater turtles sold for food in the United States and abroad.

Not only are the turtles vanishing into extinction, but consumers are eating meat from turtles caught in streams contaminated with mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, and pesticides, the petitioners warn.

Alligator snapping turtle weighs about 45 poundsThe coalition of two dozen groups submitted administrative petitions to state wildlife and health agencies in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee, asking for a ban on commercial harvest of freshwater turtles in all public and private waters.

The groups say wildlife exporters and dealers are harvesting massive and unsustainable numbers of wild freshwater turtles from southern and midwestern states that continue to allow unlimited and unregulated take of turtles.

"Unregulated wildlife dealers are mining southern and midwestern streams for turtles for the export trade, in a frenzy reminiscent of the gold rush," said Jeff Miller, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE

Benthic habitat atlas of
coastal Texas available online
Copyright 2010 NOAA Coastal Services Center. All rights reserved.
February 2010 - NOAA's new online Benthic Habitat Atlas contains Online Benthic Habitat Atlas - NOAA's Digital Coastshallow-water habitat information for over 190 miles of Texas coastal bays. Users of the website can access individual maps in an Internet viewer and download and print them as PDF documents. The maps are useful for public meetings, field activities and planning related to dredging, prop scar management and habitat change detection. Users can also access supplemental information on data development techniques.
NOAA'S BENTHIC HABITAT ATLAS OF COASTAL TEXAS.


Choosing reusable water bottles helps environment, health, wallet
Copyright 2009 PM Architecture. All rights reserved.
December 17, 2020 - Need an idea for a Holiday present for your loved ones? How about a reusable water bottle or home water purifying system?
Click to watch PowerPoint This PowerPoint presentation developed by PM Architecture focuses on how choosing reusable water bottles over disposable water bottles can not only help your wallet but your health and the environment as well. The presentation shows the enormous gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean, smokestacks of refineries that process the oil used to make plastic bottles, as well as information about health concerns related to plastic bottles leaching contaminants into drinking water. A healthier, more green solution to disposable water bottles is to drink either tap water or filtered water from refillable water bottles made of metal, glass or non-leaching plastic.
WATCH POWERPOINT (2.61 MB)
(click screen or use arrow keys to move through pages, use ESC to end)


Tough season may force
Texas oystermen to fold
Copyright 2009 New York Times. All rights reserved.
New York Times
SAN LEON, Texas - December 2, 2020 - A year after Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston Bay’s oyster beds, the oystermen who have been harvesting seafood from the bay’s fertile waters for generations are barely hanging on, and many fear that this could be their last oyster season. New York Times

The boats that fan out over the bay every morning are harvesting only a third of what they usually do, and some longtime oystermen are thinking of finding a new line of work.

“This year is a lot worse than last year,” said Joe Nelson, who owns Fisherman’s Harvest and has been pulling oysters from the bay for nearly four decades. “It is going to be really tough for us to make it through the season.”

When Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston on Sept. 13 last year, the storm buried nearly 8,000 acres of oyster reefs in sediment from the Bolivar Peninsula, state wildlife officials said. Half of the oyster habitat was wiped out, destroying the livelihood of more than 100 fishing operations.

Lance Robinson, regional director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said the state had begun to restore the reefs on the east side of the bay, where 80 percent were destroyed. State workers distributed more than 18,000 tons of river rock over 20 acres of water.

“This is to give oyster larvae, called spat, a chance to adhere to the rock and keep the life cycle going,” said Jennie Rohrer, an oyster restoration biologist for the state.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT THE NEW YORK TIMES

Lab quietly keeps Gulf waters thriving
By Harvey Rice. Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Houston Chronicle
GALVESTON, TX - Nov. 30, 2009 - Pitching decks in rough seas, getting along with macho fishing crews and sometimes spending weeks at sea working 10-hour days are part of the job for Andria Schurman, an observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service Galveston Laboratory.

NOAA photoSchurman, 32, is on the front line of an effort to ensure that redfish, shrimp, grouper and other threatened species will continue to be on restaurant menus. Stationed on a randomly chosen fishing boat, she sorts through the catch to find out how much is being taken, what kinds of unwanted fish and other sea life are caught in the nets, and other data that she records in a waterproof logbook.

The data eventually makes its way to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outpost at Fort Crockett on Galveston Island. That's where the information is entered into computers and used for scientific research that helps Texas and other Gulf Coast states regulate the fishing industry and keep species from being fished to extinction.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Louisiana copes with oil spill,
high winds, flooding
Copyright 2009 Environment News Service. All rights reserved.
Environment News Service
NEW ORLEANS, LA, November 2, 2021 (ENS) - An oil spill south of New Orleans and flooding across northern and western parishes has made it a difficult weekend for Louisiana as strong winds, heavy rains and tornadoes struck the state beginning on October 28.

Pacific Carriers' cargo ship Pac Alkaid is now at a ship repair facility in New Orleans, after spilling 12,000 gallons of fuel oil near the mouth of the Mississippi River, off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico.


Worker walks the Red Chute Levee in Bossier Parish. (Photo courtesy Bossier Parish Levee District)

Coast Guard officials said divers have now patched a hole in the ship about five feet below the waterline that penetrated the vessel's starboard fuel tank, which has a capacity of nearly 120,000 gallons of bunker oil. Oil continued leaking from the 179 meter long Singapore-flagged vessel over the weekend while divers waited for parts to arrive. The cause of the hole is currently unknown.

The Pac Alkaid reported the discharge to the Coast Guard at 2 am Friday, when it was anchored five miles southeast of Southwest Pass. The Coast Guard ordered the vessel to move further offshore to lessen the impact of the oil on the shoreline. Winds and currents pushed the oil to the northwest, which has caused a sheen to wash up against the rocks of the Southwest Pass jetty.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE

New NOAA website focuses on tides
Copyright 2009 NOAA. All rights reserved.
NOAA Tides & Currents
October 28, 2021 - The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services recently released a we-based tool called NOAA Tide Predictions. Highlights include:
  • Accurate, easily accessible tide predictions for more than 3,000 locations
  • User-friendly options to generate customized tidal predictions
  • Ability to package text and/or graphical displays of tidal predictions for a selected day, week, month or year
  • Advanced options to generate predictions relative to a variety of tidal datums, as well as selections for height units, time zones, and threshold values
VISIT NOAA TIDE PREDICTIONS ONLINE

Plan identifies Gulf of Mexico
research priorities
Copyright 2009 SeaGrant. All rights reserved.
Sea Grant Mississippi-Alabama
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - October 27, 2021 - The Gulf of Mexico Research Plan that identifies marine research priorities in the region has been released. More than 1,500 people with more than 20,000 combined years of professional service from 260 organizations, government agencies and universities worked to identify and prioritize these needs. During the two-year planning effort, more than 250 research priorities were distilled into a list of 17 top research priorities. These priorities share five theme areas:
  • Ecosystem health indicators
  • Freshwater input and hydrology
  • Habitats and living resources
  • Sea-level change, subsidence and storm surge
  • Water quality and nutrients

The Gulf of Mexico Research Plan covers many disciplines including anthropology, biology, climatology, economics, engineering, geology, hydrology and others.

Fourteen research funding groups and government agencies already use the plan to address Gulf of Mexico needs. Agencies recently followed the plan to help determine which research projects would be supported with more than $1.8 million in available funding.
READ GULF OF MEXICO RESEARCH PLAN REPORT ONLINE

Flower Garden Banks NMS among healthiest coral reefs in Gulf of Mexico
Copyright 2009 Science Daily. All rights reserved.
Science Daily
Oct. 26, 2009 - Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is among the healthiest coral reef ecosystems in the tropical Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, according to a new NOAA report.

The report, "A Biogeographic Characterization of Fish Communities and Associated Benthic Habitats within the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary," offers insights into the coral and fish communities within the sanctuary based on data collected in 2006 and 2007. Sanctuary managers will use the report to track and monitor changes in the marine ecosystem located 70 to 115 miles off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.

"We found that 50 percent of the area surveyed for this report is covered by live coral," said Chris Caldow, a NOAA marine biologist and lead author on the report. "This is significant because such high coral cover is a real rarity and provides critical habitat for many different types of fish and other animals that live in these underwater systems."

The sanctuary is also unusual in that it is dominated by top-level predators, including large grouper, jacks, and snappers that are virtually absent throughout the U.S. Caribbean. Researchers looked at the relationship between physical measures of the sanctuary's habitat such as depth, slope and geographic location, and the nature of the fish community in each location.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT SCIENCE DAILY

Sea life flourishing on
Vandenberg wreck off Keys
Copyright 2009 CBS. All rights reserved.
CBS
KEY LARGO, FL, October 15, 2021 - Since it was sunk in May the 527-foot former missile tracking ship, the second-largest ship in the world to be scuttled as an artificial reef, has become encrusted with several species of soft corals, a hairy mat of billowing polyps.

Watch Vandenberg wreck underwater videoIn addition to the corals, nearly 50 different species of fish have already taken up residence on the ship, according to the Reef Environmental Education Foundation which is involved in monitoring the proliferation of sea life on the wreck.

"The growth has taken off just wonderfully," said Dive Key West instructor Jeremy Hansverger, who has observed the ship since it was sunk. "We have a bit of diversity of pretty much every kind of marine life on the Vandenberg."

Gray angelfish and butterfly fish have laid claim to the ship's rudder and the anchor chain, while small triangular-shaped arrow crabs speed along the hull, scavenging for food.
READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE & WATCH VIDEOS AT CBS4.COM

Panel to secure wetlands' role in fighting greenhouse gases
Copyright 2009 Restore America's Estuaries. All rights reserved.
Restore America's Estuaries
WASHINGTON - October 15, 2021 - Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) announced today that it has convened a blue ribbon panel of nationally recognized experts to explore the role coastal wetlands play in sequestering greenhouse gases (GHG). The panel's ultimate goal is to develop a national greenhouse gas offset protocol for wetland restoration projects. Marine and tidal wetland soils remove vast amounts of carbon dioxide, one of the most significant greenhouse gases, from the atmosphere.

Composed of leaders in science, environmental engineering, public policy, and carbon offset investing, the panel is charged with examining the field's current state of knowledge, assessing information gaps, and developing accounting and monitoring guidance for carbon sequestration, through coastal wetland restoration projects.

The panel will help answer important questions, according to Jeff Benoit, President and CEO of Restore America's Estuaries. "Coastal wetlands store carbon and the potential of restored and expanded tidal wetlands to sequester vast amounts of carbon dioxide is tremendous. This panel will help give us the keys to unlocking that potential, by creating a mechanism for attracting greenhouse gas offset investment into new and expanded wetlands restoration projects," said Benoit.
READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT ESTUARIES.ORG

Seagrass Recovery joins UN in promoting seagrass restoration
Effort works to create jobs, reverse the decline of
fisheries and combat climate change
Copyright 2009 Seagrass Recovery. All rights reserved.
Seagrass Recovery
TAMPA, FL - October 15, 2021 - A report released yesterday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stresses the importance of urgent action to maintain and restore marine ecosystems such as seagrass, mangroves and salt marshes (blue carbon sinks) as the key to combating climate change.

With the announcement, a call to action is being made for the restoration of the world's blue forests and blue carbon sinks to combat climate change and sea level rise. Florida-based Seagrass Recovery has been successfully restoring seagrass meadows since 1996 and stands ready to meet this expected increase in the need for restoration of this important resource.

The report’s findings detail that the key element to combating climate change is the restoration of degraded seagrass meadows. Seagrass Recovery has spent the last 14 years developing innovative techniques and patented technologies to replant and restore damaged seagrass areas. The success of these methods have been scientifically evaluated and documented by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE ONLINE AT SEAGRASS RECOVERY

Healthy oceans new key
to combating climate change

Seagrasses to salt marshes among the most cost-effective
carbon capture and storage systems on the planet
Copyright 2009 United Nations Environment Programme. All rights reserved.
Cape Town, Nairobi, Rome, Paris - 14 October 2021 - A new Rapid Response Report released today estimates that carbon emissions-equal to half the annual emissions of the global transport sector-are being captured and stored by marine ecosystems such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses.

A combination of reducing deforestation on land, allied to restoring the coverage and health of these marine ecosystems could deliver up to 25 percent of the emissions reductions needed to avoid 'dangerous' climate change.

But the report, produced by three United Nations agencies and leading scientists and launched during National Marine Month in South Africa, warns that far from maintaining and enhancing these natural carbon sinks humanity is damaging and degrading them at an accelerating rate.
READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE ONLINE AT UNEP NEWS CENTRE

Ecological forecast: higher temps, lighter winds contribute to bleaching
Copyright 2009 NOAA. All rights reserved.
MARYLAND, September 28, 2021 - NOAA Weather Service's Environmental Modeling Center is responsible for the Map showing sea-surface temperature in Gulf of Mexicodevelopment of improved numerical weather and marine prediction modeling systems. One of the many maps that the service provides is one that shows sea-surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico (shown at right). By monitoring sea surface temperature scientists are able to predict and monitor the bleaching of corals due to stress caused by temperatures being too high. Corals can usually recover from short-term bleaching events but long-term events can be fatal to the reef.
VIEW SEA-SURFACE TEMPERATURE MODELING MAP ONLINE AT NOAA


MMS study identifies giant squid presence in Gulf of Mexico
Copyright 2009 MMS. All rights reserved.
NEW ORLEANS, LA, September 21, 2021 - During a recent research cruise, a rare giant squid was captured in the Gulf of Mexico. The research cruise was partially funded through an interagency agreement between the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The 19.5 foot long, 103 pound squid was caught at a water depth of more than 1,500 feet in a special trawl net pulled by the NOAA vessel Gordon Gunter during a pilot study for the MMS, “Sperm Whale Acoustic Prey Study.”

“I’m proud that the MMS environmental studies program has again added important new data on the Gulf of Mexico to the scientific body of knowledge,” said Liz Birnbaum, MMS director.

The two-year, $550,000 MMS prey study hopes to identify the species composition and biomass of squid and fish that represent the feeding base for sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico.

“This is the first time a giant squid has been captured during scientific research in the Gulf of Mexico,” explained Dr. Deborah Epperson, the MMS biologist responsible for this study. Numerous MMS-sponsored studies of sperm whale abundance, distribution, habitat, and response to sound conducted since the 1990’s showed the need for more information about their prey which consist mainly of squid and fish.

Photos of the squid were sent to experts around the nation to confirm the specimen was indeed the Architeuthis species. The giant squid is now at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History where it will be studied.

Additional field work for the “Sperm Whale Acoustic Prey Study” is scheduled for early 2010. A survey to assess the relationship between sperm whales and their prey based on lessons learned from this pilot study will be conducted.

Coalition urges Army Corps to honor Obama's priority to restore wetlands
Groups cite slow progress in restoring natural hurricane buffer
Copyright 2009 Environment News Service. All rights reserved.
Environment News Service
NEW ORLEANS, LA, August 26, 2021 - Three days before the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29), a coalition of 17 advocacy groups today urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to honor President Obama's priority in his budget and campaign "to restore nature's barriers - the wetlands, marshes and barrier islands that can take the first blows and protect the people of the Gulf Coast."

Members of the MRGO Must Go Coalition delivered this message during a news conference and media tour to show the slow progress in restoring wetlands east of New Orleans along the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) to protect the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish. Those are two coastal communities where Katrina did the most damage.

"The more vulnerable coastal communities are to hurricane damage, the more it costs the federal government—and taxpayers—to help those communities recover after a storm," said Pam Dashiell, co-director of the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. "Katrina devastated both the Gulf Coast and the U.S. economy, causing nearly $90 billion in property damage alone."
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE

Florida current cooler than
Gulf of Mexico waters
Copyright 2009 Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service. All rights reserved.
WEST MELBOURNE, FL - July 23, 2021 - We have observed some noteworthy oceanographic conditions in the northern Caribbean Sea, eastern Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys area during July 15-17, 2009 that are continuinRoffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Serviceg. We are providing two color enhanced satellite images derived from the infrared for sea surface temperature (colorized with yellow and red with the red being the warmest) and ocean color (purple, blue, green and brown). The infrared images were derived from both NOAA and NASA polar orbiting satellites and the ocean color from the NASA Aqua satellite (MODIS sensor). Look the images on pages 2 and 3. There is a relatively large Loop Current eddy in the Gulf of Mexico that appears with an estimated sea surface temperature (SST) 87°F. This eddy has a distinctive deep blue-purple ROFFS™ Sea Surface Temperaturecolor in the ocean color imagery. Note that the water in the Yucatan Strait (between the Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba) and the Straits of Florida is two degrees cooler (85°F) than the water in the Gulf of Mexico. This is an unusual event. Due to the newly formed Loop Current eddy, the Loop Current has a minimum “Loop” or has no Loop in that the Yucatan Current flows directly into the Florida Keys to form the Florida Current without significant intrusion into the Gulf of Mexico. This direct flow is obvious in both the infrared (SST) and ocean color data. Also note the many interesting features in the ocean color imagery surrounding Cuba which once again demonstrates the importance of ocean color satellite imagery and that infrared satellite imagery is useful in the summer months in this region.

While observing the flow over several days we have noted that there appears to be a minimal amount of water from the Gulf of Mexico entering the Florida Keys. It will be interesting to learn what the effects of this is on the ecosystem in the Florida Keys.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT ROFFER'S OCEAN FISHING FORECASTING SERVICE

Houston endowment funds study to prepare for next hurricane
Copyright 2009 Environment News Service. All rights reserved.
Environment News Service
HOUSTON, TX, June 22, 2021 (ENS) - What would happen if a major hurricane made a direct hit on Houston and NASA's Johnson Space Center? Researchers at the center for Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters, SSPEED, at Rice University in Houston have received a grant of $1.25 million to find out.

Hurricane Ike, which struck the Texas coast on September 13, 2008, ranks as the third-costliest hurricane in U.S. history with an estimated price tag of around $32 billion. Yet, Ike dealt Houston only a glancing blow.

When it made landfall east of Galveston on the Bolivar Peninsula, Ike had weakened from the most intense storm in the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, blowing across the ocean at 145 miles per hour, to a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph.

SSPEED scientists want to know what would have happened if Ike had not weakened but had hit the city at full force.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE

Obama seeks national policy
to protect oceans, coastline
Copyright 2009 Earth Times. All rights reserved.
EarthTimes
WASHINGTON, DC, June 12, 2021 - US President Barack Obama on Friday ordered federal agencies to come up with a common national policy to protect the country's coastlines, oceans and major lakes. US coasts and oceans - as well as the Great Lakes along the northern border with Canada - are currently managed by a patchwork of state laws and agencies.

Obama issued a presidential memorandum instructing a new taskforce to come up with recommendations for a comprehensive national policy within 90 days. "The oceans, coasts and Great Lakes are subject to substantial pressures and face significant environmental challenges," Obama said in the memorandum. "The United States needs to act within a unifying framework under a clear national policy, including a comprehensive, ecosystem-based framework for the long-term conservation and use of our resources," he said.

Obama said protecting the oceans was critical to the country's economic, transportation and national security needs, and the announcement was welcomed by environmental groups.

"The president has seized the opportunity not just to change the way we manage marine resources, but to transform our society's perspective about the sea from one of simple exploitation to that of careful, science-based stewardship," said Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT EARTH TIMES

PHI Chairman receives MMS
Offshore Leadership Award

Al Gonsoulin recognized for raising the bar
Copyright 2009 PHI Inc. All rights reserved.
HOUSTON, TX, May 7, 2021 – The Minerals Management Service has awarded Al Gonsoulin, Chairman and CEO of PHI Inc., with the coveted MMS Offshore Leadership AwardOffshore Leadership Award. The award recognizes an individual in the corporate sector for performing an act or service that significantly enhances the Minerals Management Service’s ability to meet Offshore Energy and Minerals Management mission objectives.

This year’s award recognizes Al Gonsoulin for creating and fully equipping the first and most clinically advanced state-of-the-art Medivac helicopter specifically designed for offshore professionals. This revolutionary helicopter, with its extraordinary clinical capabilities and expertise, represents another industry first for PHI and will provide peace of mind to offshore workers while ultimately saving lives and reducing recovery times.
READ ENTIRE PRESS RELEASE (MS Word doc)

NOAA celebrates Gulf museum
'Gulfquest' to open spring 2011 in Alabama
Copyright 2009 NOAA World. All rights reserved.NOAA World
MOBILE, AL, April 24, 2021 - Jack Dunnigan, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Ocean Service, joined Alabama Governor Bob Riley, Sen. Richard Shelby, Rep. Jo Bonner and other state and local officials at an April 13 keel-laying ceremony for the new National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico in Mobile, Alabama.

The new museum, known as GulfQuest, is projected to open in the spring of 2011 in downtown Mobile by the port and next to the cruise ship terminal. Supported by NOAA grants, GulfQuest will be the first museum dedicated to the Gulf Coast’s rich maritime traditions — and only the third interactive maritime museum in the world. It will specifically feature exhibits on the nation’s history and the Gulf of Mexico.

“The Gulf of Mexico has perhaps been somewhat overlooked by historians and researchers (although it) is the ninth largest body of water in the world,” Dunnigan told the crowd.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT NOAA WORLD

Guilty pleas in poaching case delayed
Alleged lobster poachers face big fines
Copyright 2009 Miami Herald. Article by Susan Cocking. All rights reserved.Miami Herald
MIAMI, FL, March 25, 2021 - The accused leader of a massive Keys lobster poaching operation and his wife were scheduled to enter guilty pleas in Miami federal court Tuesday.

But U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez abruptly ended the hearing after defendant Denise Dreifort of Cudjoe Key voiced misgivings about the plea agreement that she and attorney Theresa Van Vliet had reached with assistant U.S. attorney Thomas Watts-FitzGerald.

"I recognize an attitude when I see it," the judge told Dreifort. "I don't want to fight it. I'm done."

Dreifort's husband, David, had been scheduled to enter a guilty plea directly after his wife's court appearance Tuesday afternoon. But that hearing could not go forward because Van Vliet was representing husband and wife. Van Vliet is expected to file a motion with U.S. Magistrate Lurana Snow requesting separate counsel.

The Dreiforts and four codefendants were charged in a federal grand jury indictment last year with the illegal harvest of thousands of lobsters from man-made structures called casitas, or ''little houses'' placed in the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT THE MIAMI HERALD

Fewer fish in Caribbean reefs
Washington Post's Science Notebook
Copyright 2009 Washington Post. Article by Nils Bruzelius. All rights reserved.Washington Post
WASHINGTON DC, March 23, 2021 -  Populations of both large and small fish have been declining sharply across the Caribbean in the past 10 years, say researchers, who combined data from 48 studies of 318 coral reefs conducted over more than 50 years.

The data show that fish "densities" that had held steady for decades began to drop significantly around 1995, a trend not reported Parrot fishpreviously. Although overfishing has long taken a toll on larger species, the drop in smaller species that are not fished indicates that other forces are at work, said author Michelle Paddack of Simon Fraser University in Canada.

Drastic losses in coral cover and changes in coral reef habitats, driven by warming water temperatures and coral diseases, as well as sediment and pollution from coastal development could be among the factors. Overfishing may also have secondary effects by removing species that help keep reefs free of harmful algae.

"All these factors are stressing the reefs and making them less able to recover from disturbances such as hurricanes, which also seem to be occurring more frequently," Paddack said in a statement.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT THE WASHINGTON POST

Global Reef Expedition to begin
Online blog launches 5-part interview with captain
Copyright 2009 13.7 Billion Years. All rights reserved.
NEW YORK, NY, March 17, 2021 - Next year, an epic, three-year sea journey is set to begin -- the Global Reef Expedition: Science Without Borders, a mission that will circumnavigate the globe, taking an inventory of the planet's coral reefs. Beset by climate change, overfishing, pollution Captain Philip G Renaudand human development, these "rainforests of the sea" are in danger. It will take an extensive and comprehensive study -- and the participation of many nations -- to truly assess how they're doing and what should be done to protect them.

Not since the famed oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau took to the seas in his mobile laboratory Calypso in the early 1950s has a journey of this magnitude been undertaken. And this important mission is being led by Captain Philip G. Renaud, USN (Ret.), who for the past five years has been serving as the Executive Director of the Living Oceans Foundation, a private operating foundation started by HRH Prince Khaled bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia dedicated to the preservation of the world's marine environments.

Now, 13.7 Billion Years, a daily blog covering daily news reports on conservation, natural science, animal rights and the environment has launched an exclusive 5-part interview with Captain Renaud, who discusses Global Reef Expedition, diving with the prince, President Obama, and what we can all do to help save our oceans.

Read part 1 of the exclusive interview.

Groups work toward improving land conservation efforts
MOBILE, Alabama - Feb 25, 2021 - Existing and potential land trust partners recently discussed the possibility of coordinating conservation efforts in coastal Alabama. They got together at a workshop that kicked off an initiative to identify gaps in conservation efforts and to open discussion among groups. A land trust is a nonprofit organization that can purchase, receive or manage land and easements for conservation.

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center hosted the workshop for land conservation stakeholders. The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is funding the conservation initiative.

Fourteen individuals representing land trusts and organizations interested in land conservation attended the workshop at the Brookley Center. Tim Mulvaney of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program talked about the legalities of operating a land trust, and Mark Pentecost of Alabama Land Trust and Judy Steckler of Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain gave overviews of the inner workings of a land trust. During a facilitated discussion, attendees explored partnership possibilities and committed to better coordinated conservation efforts in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

For more information about the conservation initiative, contact Jody Thompson at jody.thompson@auburn.edu, (251) 438-5690.


Doctors fight planned Corpus Christi
coke-fired power plant
Copyright 2009 Environment News Service. All rights reserved.
Environment News Service
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, February 17, 2021 - Coastal Bend medical doctors, health care professionals, and others from all walks of life are seeking a contested case hearing as a part of their fight against the Las Brisas coke-fired power plant proposed for the Gulf coast port city of Corpus Christi.

At a demonstration Sunday and a news conference on Monday they warned that if the power plant is built, more cases of asthma, heart attacks, cancer, neurological and behavioral problems, and poor newborn outcomes will result. Clean Economy Coalition march against Las Brisas - thirdcoastphoto.com

The Clean Economy Coalition gathered some 200 people for a march along the bayfront on Sunday and also presented their case at a news conference Monday at Corpus Christi City Hall.

Coalition members will seek standing to contest the Las Brisas permit at a preliminary hearing today. The State Office of Administrative Hearings will conduct the hearing in order to make a Proposal for Decision to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE

'State of the Planet's Oceans'
New episode of journey to planet Earth premieres
on PBS March 18 at 8 pm with host Matt Damon
Copyright 2008 World Wire. All rights reserved.
World Wire
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 3, 2021 - “The State of the Planet’s Oceans,” the next episode in the award-winning environmental series Journey to Planet Earth, will be broadcast on PBS on Wednesday, March 18, 2021 at 8 p.m., with Academy Award winner Matt Damon returning as on-camera host/narrator. Produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Hal and Marilyn Weiner, the Journey To Planet Earth series reports on the most important environmental and sustainable development issues of the 21st century.

From Portugal to New England, Greenland to Peru, and Bangladesh to the Florida Keys, “The State of the Planet's Oceans” investigates the health and sustainability of the world's oceans, with a special emphasis on climate change and issues affecting marine preserves, fisheries, and coastal ecosystems. While presenting evidence of the threats to the oceans, “The State of the Planet’s Oceans” also reveals stories of hope, courage, and redemption.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE AT WORLD-WIRE

Guest Column:
Fish Shares and Sharing Fish
Copyright 2009 New York Times. All rights reserved.New York Times
By Aaron E. Hirsh
February 3, 2021 - It is the last evening of the marine ecology course my wife and I teach each year at a field station in Bahía de Los Ángeles, a small fishing village on the Gulf of California. We’ve invited four local fishermen to join us for dinner, and they sit now in plastic chairs on our patio — the guests of honor, with a dozen college kids gathered before them like disciples.

The eldest of the fishermen, Memo, rubs his grizzled chin in somber recollection, for one of our students has just asked a pointed and painful question: Which species have disappeared in his lifetime?

Solemnly, as though he’s reciting the names of his own deceased ancestors, Memo begins: the sea cucumbers, the fan clam, the lion’s paw scallop . . . . He’s working his way back in time, I think, moving from the most recently vanished toward the creatures that disappeared when he was a child.

In the early ’90s, he reaches the sharks; in the ’70s, the sea turtles; in the ’60s, the giant sea bass; and in the years of his childhood, the great totoaba, a six-foot croaker that was once pulled from these waters by the million.
READ ENTIRE COLUMN ONLINE AT NEW YORK TIMES

Google Earth dives under the sea
Article copyright 2009 BBC. All rights reserved.
February 2, 2021 - Google has lifted the lid on its first major upgrade to its global mapping software, Google Earth. Google Ocean expands this map to include large swathes of the ocean floor and Google Ocean - BBC articleabyssal plain. Users can dive beneath a dynamic water surface to explore the 3D sea floor terrain. The map also includes 20 content layers, containing information from the world's leading scientists, researchers, and ocean explorers.Al Gore was at the launch event in San Francisco which, Google hopes, will take its mapping software a step closer to total coverage of the entire globe. In a statement, Mr Gore said that the update would make Google Earth a "magical experience." "You can not only zoom into whatever part of our planet's surface you wish to examine in closer detail, you can now dive into the world's ocean that covers almost three-quarters of the planet and discover new wonders that had not been accessible in previous versions."
WATCH VIDEO on BBC website
DOWNLOAD GOOGLE EARTH

FEMA announces new distribution
of flood hazard maps
Copyright 2009 FEMA. All rights reserved.
February 2009 - Beginning October 1, FEMA's Mitigation Directorate will be changing the way it produces and distributes its National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) flood hazard maps and data. FEMA will begin providing a single paper map and related flood insurance study report to each mapped community.FEMA

Digital map products and data will be available, free of charge, to Federal, State, Tribal, and local NFIP stakeholders. Other interested parties will be able to obtain digital map products, for nominal fees, from FEMA's Map Service Center. To view the new tools, visit http://msc.fema.gov.

The paper-to-digital conversion will allow FEMA to spend more on the maps rather than paper, and it will provide users with more powerful and flexible tools.

Manta photo catalog now online
at Flower Garden Banks NMS
Copyright 2008 Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. All rights reserved.
National Marine Sanctuaries
December 2008 - Manta rays are popular visitors to the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. They can be seen by divers at almost any time during the year, as they gracefully glide over the reefs consuming plankton.

Even so, there is so much we don't know about them ... How many are there? Do they stay at one bank or visit several? Do they travel to other reefs in the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean?

FGBNMS Manta CatalogThe first step in answering these questions is to identify individual manta rays. This is done by observing markings on their undersides, which are unique to each animal. By combing through sanctuary photo archives, we've been able to successfully identify about 60 individuals and assign them identification numbers. Photos coupled with ID numbers were then combined to create a Manta Catalog.

The catalog is available at the sanctuary offices and on board the M/V Spree and M/V Fling that regularly take divers to the sanctuary. This information is also available electronically on the FGBNMS web site. Please check out the online catalog and keep it in mind if you are ever diving in the sanctuary. Information on additional sightings is always welcome!

Study shows tropical storms
growing fiercer
Copyright 2008 Sea Web. All rights reserved.
Sea Web
October 2008 - The maximum wind speeds of the strongest tropical cyclones have increased significantly since 1981, according to research published in a recent edition of the journal Nature. The research, by James Elsner of Florida State University and colleagues, concludes that the strongest tropical storms are getting stronger, with the most notable increases in the North Atlantic and northern Indian Oceans.

Hurricane GustavElsner and colleagues statistically analysed satellite-derived data of cyclone wind speeds. Although the average number or intensity of all storms barely increased, the team found that, overall, there were more storms with a maximum wind speed exceeding 130 miles per hour (210 kilometres per hour, category 4 and 5 storms).

The authors state that their results are “qualitatively consistent with the heat-engine theory of cyclone intensity. Thus, as seas warm, the ocean has more energy that can be converted to tropical cyclone wind.” They posit that regional differences are possibly due in part to the rate of warming, and that relatively cooler basins with large increases in sea surface temperature should therefore show the greatest upward trends in the intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones. Sure enough, the North Atlantic, where they have recorded the greatest increase in the strongest storms, was the coolest ocean basin between 1981 and 2006 and has also been undergoing the greatest sea surface temperature increase during that time.

Read the rest of this article on the web at Sea Web's Ocean Update (pdf).

Ocean Conservancy to close
USVI site, end research
Copyright 2008 MSNBC. All rights reserved.
MSNBC
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Oct 3, 2021 - The Ocean Conservancy says it is closing its only office outside the U.S. mainland and phasing out coral-reef conservation efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Executive vice president Denny Kelso says the environmental group is shifting its focus to ocean climate change, sustainable fisheries and ocean policy and management.

The Caribbean regional office opened in April 2001 on St. John. It later moved to St. Croix, also in the Virgin Islands.

Kelso said Friday that the office had created a reef-monitoring program, pushed for increased protection of a marine park and organized coastal cleanups.

Nearly half the coral surrounding the Virgin Islands died from disease outbreaks after months of warming waters in 2005.

Read the rest of this article on the web at MSNBC.

NOAA administrator announces resignation
Copyright 2008 NOAA. All rights reserved.
NOAA logo
WASHINGTON, DC - September 13, 2021 - Retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, today announced his resignation, effective Oct. 31. Lautenbacher served as NOAA’s eighth Administrator for nearly seven years.

Under Lautenbacher’s leadership, NOAA was instrumental in the creation of the Papahanoumokuakea Marine National Monument, the second largest area in the world dedicated to marine preservation. Lautenbacher contributed to the President’s landmark Ocean Initiative and worked with Congress to pass the Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization, which requires overfishing end by 2011.

In the international arena, Lautenbacher has led U.S. efforts to create a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), an effort that has been joined by more than 70 countries and Conrad C. Lautenbacher50 international organizations. Following the disastrous Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, Lautenbacher led the development of a tsunami warning system in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and pushed for better warning capabilities in the Indian Ocean.

“I am most grateful for your leadership and offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to you and as well to NOAA’s dedicated career force that has made all of these and many more achievements possible,” Lautenbacher said in a letter to President Bush. “While I have both enjoyed my tenure and been proud to serve, it is time to make room for those who will follow and build on the legacy of NOAA created by this Administration.”

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit http://www.noaa.gov.

Hurricane Ike shuts largest
U.S. biodiesel refinery
Copyright 2008 Environment News Service. All rights reserved.
Environment News Service
HOUSTON, Texas - September 17, 2021 (ENS) - The nation's largest biodiesel refinery, located on the Houston Ship Channel, will be shut down for the next six to eight weeks because of damage and loss of power caused by Hurricane Ike, company officials say.

The publicly traded owner-operator GreenHunter Energy says damages at its Renewable Fuels Campus were mainly due to floodwater, which crested the 100-year flood plain level, rather than wind damage from Hurricane Ike.

GreenHunter biodiesel refineryCompleted in March, the refinery is capable of producing 105 million gallons of biodiesel a year.

Bruce Baughman, senior vice president of technology and engineering for the GreenHunter BioFuels division of the company, said, “So far in our assessment of this disaster, we have concluded that fortunately, damage to major process equipment is minimal. We have discovered damage to smaller reagent tanks, intermediate tanks and their interconnecting piping and pumps, as well as damage to the foundations of smaller tanks."

"Given the sheer volume of water and the extreme flood levels that we faced, our initial assessment is that we sustained overall minor to moderate impact to the Renewable Fuels Campus from Hurricane Ike,” he said.

Read the rest of this article on the web at Environment News Service.

Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free - (361) 882-3939 phone - (361) 882-1262 fax
e-mail: info@gulfmex.org     website: gulfmex.org
webmaster: Carrie Robertson


GULF NEWS SOURCES

SeaWeb Ocean Update

Environment News Service

Environmental News Network

Grist Magazine - Environmental News and Humor

The Ocean - Ocean News and Guide

National Wildlife Foundation - enature.com

Shifting Baselines - Common Sense for the Oceans

MSNBC Environment

Underwater Times - Ocean News

Capitol Reports - Environmental News Link

National Geographic News - Oceans

Coastal States Organization Weekly Report

NOAA Media Center

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