By Mike Evans
Desert Rivers Audubon
A heavily oiled Brown Pelican sits hear healthy birds in Louisiana’s Cat Bay.
I would like to talk about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the work being done by Audubon and other environmental groups to restore the Gulf to the vital place it plays in our nation’s ecosystem as America’s Third Coast. My son Aaron is interning with the Gulf Restoration Network this spring semester in New Orleans. (The Louisiana Audubon Council and Baton Rouge Audubon are two of the forty-five environmental organizations partnering with the Gulf Restoration Network on restoring the Gulf after the BP oil spill.) Aaron is a junior at Tulane University where he is working on a triple major in Anthropology, English, and Early Medieval Studies. He hopes to have a career in writing for environmental, science, and outdoor magazines.
For more on Audubon’s work on the Gulf oil spill, check out the National Audubon Society’s website. Much of what follows comes from that website.
So, as a reminder, “on April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off Louisiana’s coast, unleashing an undersea volcano
Priority Species of the Important Bird Areas along the Gulf Coast include the Black Skimmer.
of oil and natural gas that would ultimately gush into the Gulf of Mexico for three months. Audubon staff sprang into action.” Audubon “staff were first on the scene to assess the impacts and help guide and coordinate the emergency response.
“Hundreds of volunteers took on critical response activities, assisting with oiled and injured bird transportation, protecting beach-nesting bird colonies, and making nets, cages and other materials used in bird rescue. Others helped monitor bird populations and health through citizen science initiatives, including the Coastal Bird Survey, a program that continues to this day.
“After three months of desperate attempts, BP finally sealed the gushing well. By then, thousands of birds had died from contact with oil, the nesting season had been disrupted, and oil had reached 17 Important Bird Areas from Louisiana to Florida.”
Only time will reveal the full toll of the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Unprecedented amounts of oil, natural gas and dispersants entered the gulf in what amounts to an uncontrolled chemical experiment with unknown consequences.”
Today, Audubon is working to mitigate spill impacts, monitoring and preparing to act on emerging threats or declines observed in the months or years ahead, and working towards a plan for system-wide conservation in coalition with other environmental groups. For more detailed information on the clean up and restoration see this page on the Audubon website.
There is a great group of videos on the Gulf oil spill and Audubon’s vital role in the mitigation and restoration of the Gulf.
Finally, please take a look at this page on the website and take action. This story isn’t over yet. Unfortunately, there are many more chapters still to come. But, we can all make a difference. This disaster happened because we are all addicted to oil. On this webpage you will find concrete examples of how we can all help Restore the Gulf! If you made it to here, thanks for reading.