Thursday, February 28, 2013

MC252 Tarball Festival in Perdido Key, AL 2-28-2013

Apologies to all but I have been very quiet on this blog for a very long time.  I have to work for a living so this blog has had to take a back seat to those efforts.  

I have been following the beach re nourishment projects in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.  So today was of special interest to me because the dredge and pipeline is setting up on one of our surf spots in Orange Beach on the Alabama stretch of Perdido Key.  I wanted to get some before and after shots of the beach.  So today would be a great day to get the before shots with good conditions and great sun.  But what I found today was quite disturbing, a fresh batch of MC252 Tarballs decide to have a Family Reunion on this beautiful stretch of beach in Perdido Key Alabama.

This chunk is larger than my hand!
I know this "Tarball Festival" is a daily occurrence in Mississippi an Louisiana and for the most part Gulf Shores and Orange Beach AL and Perdido Key FL.  It's just today I was just blown away by the size of the larger "chunks of oil".  This is by far the largest tarballs I have seen in the last two years.  Just imagine what size the tarmat is that these larger pieces broke off of?   

You see I have acquired this amazing inate ability to spot a tarball at around 5-10 paces away. I am not proud of this "skill", if you want to call it that.  It's just that when I am on the beach its the first thing I look for and that really sucks when you stop and think about it! 

So we are going on three years since the spill and the lawyers are going at it in the courtroom in the "Big Easy".  Pray the Beach Polluter - BP gets tagged as hard as they can. God knows they deserve it.   

I could ramble on and on.... gotta go to work..... I'll let the pics do the talking?


Monday, November 14, 2011

Dredging Today – USA: Perdido Key Renourishment About to Begin

Dredging Today – USA: Perdido Key Renourishment About to Begin: Gulf Islands National Seashore and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are expected to begin a sand-renourishment project on the south shore of Perdido Key next week.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of December.
Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown said the purpose of the project is to:
- Restore beach that has been lost to erosion through storm action and active shoreline processes.
- Relocate sand deposited within the Pensacola Pass navigational channel.
- Restore the sand that erodes from the island, which is vital to barrier island function and longevity.
The renourishment project with sand taken from the Pensacola Pass channel will be placed along a two-mile segment of shoreline near the eastern end of Perdido Key, park officials said.
The sand is expected to be similar to the existing island sand in grain size, texture and color. In time, the sand placed in what’s called the swash zone –- the near-shore area and up to an elevation of approximately 3 feet near of the sand berm — on the beach will be indistinguishable from the sand already there.
The public may notice unusual concentrations of sea birds that will flock around the work site because the sand slurry discharged from the dredge pipes will include aquatic organisms. The initial discharge will appear grayish or blackish until the finer materials settle out into the water column leaving behind the white sand for which the area is known.
The operation will involve dredges that will remove sand from the borrow area and pump it onto shore through 30-inch pipes. The pipes will place slurry of sand and water on the beach where bulldozers and other construction equipment will be used to place the sand.
Operations will be conducted 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the project is completed. Floodlights will also be used at night to illuminate the project areas. For public safety purposes there will be fencing and personnel on site to restrict access in the active project areas to authorized personnel only.
By Kimberly Blair (pnj)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Senate votes to audit BP claims fund | Pensacola News Journal |

Senate votes to audit BP claims fund Pensacola News Journal Senate votes to audit BP claims fund
WASHINGTON — The fund that compensates businesses and people hurt by last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would be audited under a measure the Senate approved Tuesday.
The proposal, drafted by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of West Miami and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, passed as an amendment to a package of spending bills. The vote on the package was 69-30.
The amendment would require the Justice Department to find an independent auditor to review the process that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility uses to evaluate and pay out claims of economic damage as a result of the oil spill.
The claims fund was set up last year with $20 billion from BP.
Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the compensation fund, has said he would welcome an audit and it should be done as soon as possible.
He cautioned that several competing interest groups would want input in the audit process. Groups representing business interests, environmental agendas and low-income Gulf residents already have lobbied claims fund officials.
"You can't win on this independent audit," he told lawmakers last week.
Rubio voted against the overall spending bill Tuesday because he wants to see more cuts to the $182 billion measure that funds agriculture, transportation, housing, law enforcement and NASA programs. But he said he's glad it includes language requiring the audit.
"This amendment brings us one step closer to an audit that will bring greater transparency to the claims process by providing a full review of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility on behalf of those impacted by the 2010 Gulf oil spill," Rubio said in a statement.
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who co-sponsored the audit proposal, voted for the entire spending package.
A similar amendment introduced by Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., was approved by the House Appropriations Committee in July.
Tuesday's vote follows a hearing last week before the House Natural Resources Committee where Gulf Coast lawmakers angrily said the compensation fund has processed claims slowly and inconsistently, and lacks transparency.

Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, who sits on the Natural Resources panel, last week called the compensation fund process "a flawed payment system that lacks accountability and fails to account for the tremendous economic growth in North and Northwest Florida over the past two years."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Orange Beach in Alabama in July to assess damages from the spill and to meet with Bonner. He met later that month with Feinberg, and both agreed to support plans for an independent audit.
"We are pleased that Mr. Feinberg agreed to the department's request that an independent audit be commenced before the end of the year," Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said in an email. "We believe the process will benefit from the input we have received from our Gulf partners over the past several weeks, and we remain on schedule and pressing forward."
Gulf Coast lawmakers are irked that it hasn't happened.
News Journal Washington bureau reporter Ledyard King contributed to this story.

Transocean claims indemnity from fines under BP contract | Pensacola News Journal |

Transocean claims indemnity from fines under BP contract Pensacola News Journal Transocean claims indemnity from fines under BP contract

Depleted oyster beds just need time to rest, biologist says | Pensacola News Journal |

Depleted oyster beds just need time to rest, biologist says Pensacola News Journal Depleted oyster beds just need time to rest, biologist says

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

4 dead dolphins wash up on Gulf Coast beaches in 5 days; deaths part of 'unusual mortality event' |

4 dead dolphins wash up on Gulf Coast beaches in 5 days; deaths part of 'unusual mortality event' 4 dead dolphins wash up on Gulf Coast beaches in 5 days; deaths part of 'unusual mortality event'

Courtesy of blog of al dot com

4 dead dolphins wash up on Gulf Coast beaches in 5 days; deaths part of 'unusual mortality event'
Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 6:29 AM     Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 6:53 AM
 By Ben Raines, Press-Register Press-Register
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Print DAUPHIN ISLAND, Alabama -- A dolphin carcass, bloated and violet in the morning sun, was found on Fort Morgan early Saturday, bringing the number lost since the BP oil spill to more than 400.
Three other dolphins have washed up in Alabama in the past week, including a pregnant female on Dauphin Island and a mother and calf pair on Hollingers Island in Mobile Bay.

Courtesy of John C.S. PierceThis dolphin was found on the Mobile Bay side of the Fort Morgan peninsula Saturday morning, one of four found since Friday. The death brings the total number of dead dolphins found since the BP oil spill to more than 400. Federal officials say an "Unusual Mortality Event" has been declared for the Gulf's dolphin population, which have been dying at a rate 5 to 10 times higher than average.
"We should be seeing one (death) a month at this time of year," said Ruth Carmichael, a Dauphin Island Sea Lab scientist tasked with responding to reports of dead dolphins. "We’re getting one or more a week. It’s just never slowed down."
An examination of the Gulfwide death toll, broken down by month, reveals that dolphins continue to die at rates four to 10 times higher than normal. For instance, 23 dolphins were found dead in August, compared to a monthly average of less than 3 each August between 2002 and 2009.
Federal scientists acknowledge they are no closer to solving the mystery behind the "Unusual Mortality Event" that has been sweeping through the Gulf’s dolphin population since March of 2010, one month before BP’s well was unleashed.
But progress has been made, federal officials said, noting that tissue samples are now being sent to various laboratories for analysis. No results have been released.
"We have samples out now, and they’ve been going out for a while," said Jenny Litz, a research biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "We still have animals stranding. I would say the event is still unfolding."
Blair Mase, NOAA’s point person for all dolphin strandings in the Gulf, said that reports of dead dolphins have remained stubbornly high, meaning a final report is a long way off. She said that most of the casualties now are adults.
Stillborn or juvenile dolphins made up nearly half of the casualties in February and March this year, but 90 percent of the deaths since then have been adults. Scientists said part of the explanation is simply timing. Dolphins typically calve in the spring, meaning pregnant females and newborns are at their most vulnerable between February and May.
Though many believe a link between the BP oil spill and the elevated death rate seems obvious, dolphins actually began dying a month before the spill.
'Unusual mortality event' for dolphins not unheard of
To report dead dolphins

To report dolphin and other marine mammal strandings, call: 1-877-942-5343 (1-877-Whale-help).
In March of 2010, 56 dolphins washed ashore in the Gulf, compared to the seven-year average of 16 for the month.
Mass die-offs of dolphins are not unheard of. Fifty-three dolphins washed up on South Carolina beaches this year, and three or four such events typically occur each year around the country.
The majority of the time, the official cause of death is listed as "undetermined," according to federal records.
What’s unusual about what is happening in the Gulf is the duration of the die-off, now well into its second year. It’s possible, scientists said, that whatever killed dolphins in March of 2010 — be it a cold winter, scarce food supplies, or a virus — meant the population was already in a weakened position when the Gulf spill began.
"Clearly, something is going on. My prediction is that it is not going to stop in the near time, if it is what we’re afraid it might be," said Graham Worthy, a University of Central Florida researcher specializing in examining the blubber layer of dolphins and seals to glean information about their health.
"Earlier this year, with the major die-off of the neonates, one of the ideas scientists were throwing around was the disruption of the food chain. Many folks had speculated that was one possible outcome of the spill."
Worthy said such a disruption could weaken the health of the dolphin population on a broad scale, though he cautioned that he has not received any samples from federal officials for analysis.
"I haven’t seen any of these dolphins and don’t know their physical condition. Without tissue samples, all we can do is speculate," Worthy said. "But there have been some interesting stories lately, about abnormalities in developing fish in Louisiana, and reports of the shrimp catch being way, way down this year. Something similar happened after Exxon Valdez, where they had record catches the year after the spill, then a number of species crashed and have never recovered."
Carmichael said the scientific community could do little more than guess about the causes of the deaths until the carcasses have been analyzed.
"We don’t know about lesions on the animals, or about the blubber content. Those are the kinds of analyses we are waiting on," Carmichael said. "When they are done we can work as a group all along the coast and figure out what is going on."
Until that time, all researchers can do is count the bodies as they wash ashore.

Related topics: Dauphin Island Sea Lab, dauphin island sea lab, dead dolphins, dolphins, Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010, Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, ruth carmichael