There have been 162 sea turtles strandings this month along the coast from Florida to Louisiana, national wildlife officials said Tuesday, a number much higher than any May total in the last five years.
Officials said that 156 of the turtles died.
While noting the higher rate of strandings, the same officials stopped short of blaming the ongoing oil spill, adding that there were no visible signs of oil on the turtle carcasses…
Is this just the beginning?
Most of the dead sea turtles recovered since April are juvenile Kemps Ridleys, which have been on the endangered species list since 1970. Beach surveys are ongoing to locate turtle nests.
Rowan Gould, acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, said multiple state agencies are documenting impacts and working to understand the long-term effects of the spill.
“We’ve recovered a relatively small number of visibly oiled birds in this spill,” Gould said. “The visibly oiled birds are only a small part of the concern. What concerns us most is what we can’t see — the probable effects of the spill on the coastal environment.”
Of immediate concern, Gould said, are dozens of local bird species that breed along the Gulf Coast: “We expect they’ll bear the brunt of the immediate impact of the oil. I don’t know if we will ever know the full impact of oil on the birds.”
So… Then what happens if they CAN’T cap or stop this gushing leak..?
(Gould:) “We are preparing for the likelihood that (the spill) will persist in the gulf ecosystem for years to come,” he said. “This spill is unprecedented. We may never know the spill’s full impact on birds and marine mammals.”
And in the meantime, the head of BP, Tony Hayward, is out there saying this:
“I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest,” Tony Hayward said. “It is impossible to say and we will mount, as part of the aftermath, a very detailed environmental assessment but everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact will be very, very modest.”
“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”
Oh… I feel so much better now.. Though, I don’t quite sense any remorse in these statements. No comprehension either. Either Mr. Hayward doesn’t get it, or he flat out doesn’t care (or both).
Consider then the coastal ‘Dead Zones’ that have been a serious concern globally, studied for over twenty years now. The ‘Dead Zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico is now compounded further by the leaking [gushing] of gas as well as the oil.
We are facing an ecological catastrophe on a scale I can’t quite wrap my head around.
This next graphic was posted here in 2008:
The problem with the ‘Dead Zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico was already a very serious problem. So, now..?
For more reading on the coastal ‘Dead Zones’, and the impact of this spill:
This repost of a diary from 2 days ago describes the fact that there is 3000 times more natural gas coming out of the leak than oil. All of the gas is currently staying in the water because the ocean has the capacity to hold large quantities of methane in solution.
When methane breaks down it depletes oxygen in the water.
Then, when it continues to break down it produces hydrogen sulfate
After some discussions with people who are currently working to determine the extent of this undersea damage, I decided we need to revisit this topic: The damage of the massive amounts of Gas being released into the gulf is worse than the oil…
..Louisiana’s dead zone, the world’s second largest (after the Baltic Sea), arrives every year after fertilizer washing down the Mississippi River feds enormous blooms of algae that die, sink to the bottom and begin to decay. The decomposition sucks oxygen out of the seawater, leaving little or none for fish and other marine life.
Monitoring stations run by the marine consortium have already detected some low-oxygen zones, said Rabalais, from her office on Terrebonne Bay, adding that the year’s zone could be exacerbated by surface oil blocking lifegiving oxygen from enriching the water. “The oil sheen, the layering on the surface of the water, could prevent the diffusion of oxygen into the water,” she said. “It could aggravate the low-oxygen zone that we’re already seeing develop in the gulf.”..
An over 7,000-square-mile wildlife “dead zone” located in the center of the Gulf of Mexico has grown from being a curiosity to a colossus over the past two decades, according to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and scientists are now concerned the recent oil spill and other emerging chemical threats could widen the zone even further.
The NWF describes the dead zone as being “the largest on record in the hemisphere in coastal waters and one of the biggest in the world.”
During the summer months, it is nearly devoid of wildlife, save for the dead bodies of crabs, shrimp and other marine species that succumb to oxygen depletion in the polluted water.
Animal toxicology experts believe the Gulf dead zone is a man-made monstrosity…
Who’s to blame for the oil spill? Dick Cheney (Thanks, Dick..)
And in that vein, please don’t miss this:
Ed Schultz interviews environmental lawyer Mike Papantonio (who is suing BP concerning on behalf of fisherman and local businesses hurt by the oil spill in 5 states).
Mike Papantonio, an environmental lawyer on the Ed Show just now: An ‘acoustic switch’ would have prevented this catastrophe – it’s a failsafe that shuts the flow of oil off at the source – they cost only about half a million dollars each, and are required in off-shore drilling platforms in most of the world…except for the United States. This was one of the new deregulations devised by Dick Cheney during his secret meetings with the oil industry at the beginning of Bush’s first term.
Someone has to hold these people accountable. REAL accountability this time. The damage is off the scales.
Then, real experts – people who actually care about the health of our planet and who aren’t owned by the oil industry – need to be brought in and listened to. The time is now, before it’s too late (if it’s not too late already..). The corporations don’t care about anything but the bottom line and their profit margins. They don’t care about all the living creatures that will die, all the coastline that will be destroyed, the ‘dead zones’ that will increase in size, all the jobs and livelihoods that will lost for years to come.. They should pay dearly, but they shouldn’t be in control of the ‘facts’, the reporting on it, and the solutions. How can we as a planet trust the people who did this in the first place to be responsible to fix the problem in a safe, thorough, and timely fashion.. It’s time to get more people involved, people with much more knowledge and expertise, who aren’t owned by the oil companies and big business. The fragile balance of this planet’s ecosystem is at risk. Now.
Remember the EXXON Valdez oil spill. This is very likely going to be worse. Much worse.
The Exxon Valdez Disaster: 20 Years Later
The first oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill has entered an ocean current that could take it to Florida and up the east coast of the US, scientists say.
The European Space Agency said satellite images suggested oil could reach the coral reefs of the Florida Keys within six days.
“We have visible proof that at least oil from the surface… has reached the current,” said Dr Bertrand Chapron.
So, President Obama, please, think long and hard before you follow through with opening up offshore drilling.. Consider MUCH stronger regulations and oversight for existing drilling sites. Please, put the health and well-being of this planet first. If we screw this one up too badly, there isn’t another to take it’s place..