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The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill has now reached the Gulf Coast and will likely eclipse the Exxon Valdez disaster in its impact on the ecology of the fragile region.
Spill could be worse than Exxon Valdez
By CAIN BURDEAU and HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press Writers Cain Burdeau And Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press Writers
VENICE, La. – An oil spill that threatened to eclipse even the Exxon Valdez disaster spread out of control
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: Ten Years Later
More marine mammals and birds died than in any other oil spill. ... Only 2 of 26 species studied by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council have recovered (bald eagle and river otter). "The Exxon Valdez spill killed nearly ten times as many birds as any other U.S. or European oil spill," said seabird expert Dr. Michael Fry. As many as half a million birds died. Over 30,000 carcasses of 90 species of birds were plucked from the beaches, but this is only a fraction of the actual mortality. Harm to birds from chronic effects and decreased reproduction continues to the present.
Toxic Effects Lingering
To the naked eye, Prince William Sound may appear “normal.” But if you look beneath the surface, oil continues to contaminate beaches, national parks, and designated wilderness. In fact, the Office of Technology Assessment estimated beach cleanup and oil skinning only recovered 3-4% of the Exxon Valdez oil and studies by government scientists estimated that only 14% of the oil was removed during cleanup operations.
A decade later, the ecosystem still suffers. Substantial contamination of mussel beds persists and this remarkably unweathered oil is a continuing source of toxic hydrocarbons.
Oil is more toxic than thought.
Even before the spill, scientists knew that a drop of oil could kill a bird’s egg. But after studying the impact of the Valdez spill, they now believe oil pollution is at least 100 times more toxic to fish than previously known. It is also more persistent.
Exxon Valdez oil-spill recovery still is work in progress, 20 years later
But pockets of oil -- an estimated 16,000 gallons, according to federal researchers -- remain buried in small portions of the intertidal zone hard hit by the spill. Seven distinct species, including sea otters, killer whales and clams, still are considered to be "recovering" from the initial effects of the oil.
And herring, a cornerstone species of the Sound's ecosystem, is one of two species considered as "not recovering" by the council, the joint federal-state group established to oversee restoration.
The herring population's failure to rebound has emerged as among the most perplexing ecological mysteries of the spill's legacy.
Originally posted by Chamberf=6
reply to post by adifferentbreed
Did you mean the WEST coast of Florida? I can see that happening on satellite images, but the East coast? I dunno..
Several experts said if the oil enters the stream, it would flow around the southern tip of Florida and up the eastern seaboard.
"It will be on the East Coast of Florida in almost no time," Graber said. "I don't think we can prevent that. It's more of a question of when rather than if."