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Estuaries in Danger

May 6th, 2010 by flanews

It will be a few days before we know if BPs attempt to cover the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is successful. But even if the 100 ton dome stops oil from gushing into the gulf, as Whitney Ray tells us, there will still be more than 11 million gallons of oil in the water threatening our beaches.

Gert McGee is casting for a big catch. Hes already caught lunch. Hes hoping for dinner.

They are there, you just have to go out and find them. I dont got no boat or nothing so I just fish on the edge, said Gert.

But Gerts days fishing in the St. Marks Salt Marsh may be coming to an end.

A massive oil slick is growing in the gulf and could make its way here. It couldnt come at a worse time. May is when fish swim inland to lay their eggs in the estuaries. If the oil interrupts that process, it could be devastating to the fishing industry.

Paul Johnson, a marine life and oil policy expert says if the slick makes it into estuaries the casualties will be enormous.

Were not talking about just losing this generation of marine fish and wildlife, we are talking about next generation and thats sad to see that happening, said Johnson.

We wont know until this weekend if efforts to cap the leak are successful, but even if they are there will still be 11 million gallons of oil in the gulf.

The wind and water currents have been good to Florida so far. The longer conditions keep the oil at bay the more time it has to break apart and sink to the ocean floor.

Florida Fishermen want people to know that their catch is still clean of any oil toxins and safe to eat. Fear has kept many people from buying Florida fish.

Organizing Oil Cleanup Efforts

It may prove cheaper and easier to mobilize volunteers to help with the clean up efforts if the oil from the gulf leak hits Florida beaches. The toxicity of the oil is lower than expected, which means volunteers who want to pitch in wont have to take expensive Hazmat classes before they can get to work. Paul Johnson worked for the Florida governor in 1989 and witnessed clean up efforts from the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Johnson says manpower will play a huge role in the clean up.

When the time comes in Florida, we needs those people to go through this informational briefing, be approved by BP to get involved in the clean up, then get to work cleaning up our coast, because the last thing we as Floridians want is for this beautiful environment to be tainted like Im afraid its going to be, said Johnson.

Volunteers are already at work around the gulf coast picking up trash and debris. They are also signing up with their county EOC, to help once the oil hits.

Posted in Oil Drilling, State News, Wildlife | No Comments »

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