What an ecological disaster. This time it's polluting our shores; it's killing our birds, sea mammals and fishing industries. And it took the lives of 11 people.
I distinctly remember BP's discovery of this huge cache of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. It was major news. One discovery that would help reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Maybe it will someday. Maybe it will spur good old American ingenuity to make drilling safer and find cleaner alternatives. But BP and the government have to plug this hole.
The ecological damage happening today will take decades to repair. I almost couldn't believe the statistic I heard last night on the news. There is enough oil in this reserve to spew on like this for the rest of our lives. And we will likely never truly understand the impact of this catastrophe. And even more grim, this slick keeps growing.
Everyone is arguing about the estimates, but thousands of barrels of this stuff is flowing into this body of water each day. And it's been going on for 37 days.
Take a look at your kid's lava lamp and remember that 42 gallons equal one barrel of oil. BP estimates that more than 200,000 gallons have been leaking into the waterways every day, others think they have been low-balling the estimates.
To date, the Unified Area Command, the government agency charged with monitoring the disaster's clean-up, estimates there are something like 1,220 ships working the spill, and more than 2.8 million feet of containment and sorbent boom have been deployed. After a month, they have recovered 11 million gallons of oily water.
And now it's making its way onto the shores of Louisiana. In fact, 30 miles of coastline are believed to be fouled. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that 32 national refuges remain at risk. In addition, the National Wildlife Federation reports that 154 sea turtles, 12 dolphins and more than 20 migratory birds have been found dead or dying on Gulf beaches. The group is forming a cadre of volunteers to look for oiled wildlife along the coastline. More casualties are coming. It's inevitable. But many other animals are being rescued and treated.
I also found out they have set up 17 staging areas to protect sensitive shorelines in:
Dauphin Island, Ala.
Orange Beach, Ala.
Panama City, Fla.
Port St. Joe, Fla.
St. Marks, Fla.
Grand Isle, La.
Shell Beach, La.
St. Mary, La.
Pass Christian, Miss.
And you can bet, that at every port or area threatened by oil, there are veterinarians ready to help care for oiled wlldlife.
Stay tuned to dvm360.com. DVM Newsmagazine editors are actively pursuing this story and are planning reports including an update from Dr. Michael Ziccardi, a University of California-Davis veterinarian and director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.
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