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Gulf Oil Spill Threats

The Director of Conservation Planning for Ducks Unlimited Southern Region discusses the fragile coastal wildlife and wetlands in danger.

5/12/2010


As the devastating effects of the Gulf Oil Spill begin to emerge, many are worried about the fragile ecosystems in the region. Ducks Unlimited has been monitoring the situation since it happened, and recently, Director of Conservation Planning for Ducks Unlimited Southern Region answered some potent questions about the wildlife, marine life and coastal wetlands that remain in grave danger.


From Dennis Anderson of Star Tribune:


"Q What's the latest on the oil gushing into the Gulf?


A The spill is estimated at about 200,000 gallons a day, and has not been capped. As of this evening [Monday], the oil hasn't made landfall in coastal Louisiana, which is good news given the onshore winds we've had.


Is it possible to control the spread of the oil with the booms that are being laid on the ocean surface?


They can block it under the right circumstances. But if the wind blows and the seas get rough, waves can overtop them. Also, they can wash ashore. If the weather is fair and seas are calm, I think they can protect the highest-priority areas, at least for a little while. But if this thing goes on for weeks or months, it's problematic.


Q How is Ducks Unlimited reacting to the threat the spill poses to the fragile coastal wetlands of Louisiana and Mississippi, and to the nearly countless bird and wildlife sanctuaries along the Gulf Coast?


A We've been concerned about the Gulf Coast, particularly its coastal wetlands, for a long time. This region has been in an ongoing ecological crisis, losing about 20,000 wetland acres a year. About 4.7 million ducks have wintered in the Mississippi River coastal marshes of southeastern Louisiana historically, a number that varies annually. The region is one of DU's top five international conservation priorities."


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