Friday, April 15, 2011

Seashore wants to set record straight about oil on beaches | Pensacola News Journal |

This our Friend: "Citizens for a Clean Coast" HE IS DOING A GREAT JOB KEEPING UP ThE PRESSURE.

Seashore wants to set record straight about oil on beaches | Pensacola News Journal | "Seashore wants to set record straight about oil on beaches"

Dan Brown, superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore, received an email this week from Citizens for a Clean Coast implying the Seashore is misleading the public about how much oil is still on the beaches of Fort Pickens and Perdido Key.

Brown wants the public to know the Seashore has never claimed to have cleaned up all the BP oil.

"There’s still is subsurface oil out there,” he said. “And in some places wind has exposed it.”

Citizens for a Clean Coast maintains a blog that is compiling stories and news about the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill from contributors. Some of the information is excerpts from news stories. Contributors post updated photos of tar balls and mats they find on area beaches, including those in the Seashore.

The Seashore has been very open about the fact that submerged oil will continue to be uncovered and tar balls will continue to wash up, Brown said.

And that’s because deeply buried oil was only mechanically removed in the recreational portions of the Seashore, and this only came after much debate with National Park Service scientists, he said.

They recommend no mechanical cleanup of submerged oil on beaches at all because of concerns about damaging the ecosystem. The Park Service position was to let the oil naturally biodegrade, Brown said. That process could take decades, he said.

None of the non-recreational stretches of beaches have been deep cleaned below 6 inches, Brown said. “We had recommended no further cleaning to allow waves and wind to expose the areas so it would be easier to clean up and not have as much impact on the marine life in the sand,” he said.

Fort McRae, at the mouth of Pensacola Pass, on the tip of Johnson Beach, is the most oiled area. And it’s an area for which the Seashore is receiving the bulk of complaints.

Cleanup at that area and all along the Seashore beaches stopped on March 1 because of bird nesting season and likely won’t resume until after Aug. 15, at the end of nesting season, Brown said.

Small numbers of BP cleanup crews and Seashore rangers do monitor the beaches and clean up tar balls along the surf line on a regularly basis.

Under some circumstances the Seashore may cleanup larger tar mats that become exposed, only if birds and their chicks are not in the area.

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