Project Ocean has recently read some great news that comes roughly two months after oil has stopped leaking into the Ocean. The Sea Turtle Conservation Blog reports that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has decided the need to relocate turtle nests from the Florida and Alabama coast is no longer needed due to improving conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. We encourage all of our readers to check out their blog post for all the details.
BP’s attempts to stop the oil from gushing out of what remains of the Horizon oilrig in the Gulf are not going well. Some of the experts have said that the question is when, not if, the oil slick will arrive in the Florida Keys. South Florida and the Florida Keys has been a favorite hangout for the past several years. Project Ocean President Corey Engstrom and Project Ocean Treasurer David Knisley will be traveling to the Keys next month. If the oily mess has not yet reached the Keys by that time, we will be diving the Vandenberg off Key West, the Spiegel Grove off Key Largo, and the Adolphus Busch off Big Pine Key in the Looe Key Marine Sanctuary. Those of you who have been in the Keys know that much of the live coral is already gone along with most of the sharks so wreck diving is becoming a main attraction to the area. If the oil has arrived in the Keys when we are there in June, we will be volunteering as part of the clean up effort.
We are hoping that we will have one last opportunity to do lots of diving and enjoy all of the natural beauty that the Florida Keys have to offer both underwater and above. But if the oil is there, our intention is to do whatever we can to help with the work that will be needed.
If you are like me, you have been hearing a lot about the oil dispersants that are being used in the Gulf in order to minimize the impact of the oil that is currently on the surface of the water. I for one, had no idea how these products worked, so I decided to do a bit of digging and this is what I have found out.
Nalco Holdings is providing most of the dispersants that are being used by BP. When going to Nalco’s web site (http://www.nalco.com/applications/oil-spill-dispersants.htm) I was able to determine that their product is designed to help break up the large oil slicks on the surface into much smaller droplets that drop below the surface of the water, where they can be moved around by wind, current, and wave actions. In addition, these smaller droplets have less adhesion thus helping fish, birds, boats, & shorelines.
I have also read that once this oil is broken up, there are crustaceans, shrimp-like organisms, and plankton that can and hopefully will ingest the oil if it is broken into small enough particles and distributed throughout the water column. Obviously this will take many years, as I am sure oil is not the top item on these organisms dietary list.
We welcome comments from anyone who has specific knowledge about how this oil will be ingested and what impact it will have on the organisms that do ingest it.