Monday, July 19, 2010

Noon, Juky 20, outside Sen. Mikulski's ofice on Thames St./Many Gulf Spill Cleanup Efforts Ineffective and Harming, not Helping Birds

 There is a national protest organized by Public Citizen and others on the third anniversary, Tues., July 20, of the BP oil spill.   In Baltimore, join us from noon to 1 PM at 1629 Thames St. outside Sen. Barbara Mikulski's office in Fells Point.  The messages  are "Wean Us Off Oil" and "Congress Has Oil on Its Hands" For those who cannot make the noonday rally, join the weekly, Tues. anti-war picket at AFSC, 4806 York Road from 5:30 to 6:30 PM with "End Dependence on Oil" / No more tax $ for oil subsidies  / Nationalize the Oil Companies"-type signs. Call 410 366-1637.

July 19, 2010
11:20 AM

CONTACT: American Bird Conservancy [1]
Robert Johns, 202-234-7181 ext.210,

Many Gulf Spill Cleanup Efforts Ineffective and Harming, not Helping Birds

New Report and Recommendations Issued Today by American Bird Conservancy

WASHINGTON - July 19 - A report [2] released today by American Bird Conservancy, America's leading bird conservation group, shows how some of BP's oil spill cleanup efforts are actually causing harm to birds and their habitats rather than helping them, that cleanup vessels are inadequate and operating in the wrong locations, and that deployed boom has failed to protect some important bird colonies from oil.

The report, entitled Gulf Oil Spill: Field Survey Report and Recommendations [2], provides a series of five key recommendations for birds - ranging from the use of boom to habitat restoration - related to cleanup efforts surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The report is based on a just-completed week-long field assessment by ABC staff, who observed oil impacts and cleaning operations from Louisiana through Mississippi to Dauphin Island, Alabama. As part of the overview, ABC staff toured affected areas by boat with local and federal officials and charter boat captains. With Coast Guard officials, they also undertook an aerial over-flight of the spill area and points northwest of that location.

"Restoration needs to start as soon as major coastal oiling has been effectively addressed. The Gulf doesn't have the decades it took to resolve the legal wrangling that followed the Exxon Valdez spill. The hydrology of the Mississippi Delta and the surrounding area is already facing dire threats from climate change, erosion, and hurricanes. Let's not repeat the same mistakes we made in Alaska twenty years ago," said ABC Vice President and report author Mike Parr.

The specific recommendations contained in the report (see expanded explanations provided in the report [2]) address:

1.       The use of more effective boom to protect bird colonies. Numerous instances were observed where boom was in complete disarray, including being washed up on shore.

2.       The employment of better fencing and other measures to protect sensitive beach nesting areas and to reduce disturbance to birds. Clean-up crews were clearly unaware in several instances of the negative impacts they were causing to birds and their habitat.

3.       The deployment of adequately sized and equipped oil skimmers close to the coast with improved real-time oil reports to eliminate oil before it reaches the beaches and marshlands. ABC observed an instance of a substantial heavy oil slick about half a mile offshore while cleanup vessels were operating in very mildly oiled waters about one mile away - apparently unaware.

4.       The creation of a staging and recovery area for heavily oiled birds close to the coast. With the moving of the existing facility to a location about 70 miles away, some sort of near-shore facility is needed.

5.        The restoration of eroded island habitat for nesting birds. Breton Island, for example, is a fraction of its original size, is an important bird habitat and is in desperate need of rebuilding.

"Clearly, this is an unprecedented spill that has brought massive, well-intentioned efforts to the area - over 3,000 boats and 30,000 people are involved. Our recommendations, while not comprehensive, reflect first-hand observations and are intended to make those efforts rapidly more effective, especially in light of the fact that fall bird migration is just around the corner," Parr added.

During their survey, ABC staff observed oiled birds at several locations. The report presents a list of the observed oiled bird species.

"Without question, I think the unqualified bright spot of the cleanup effort was the bird cleaning center in Fort Jackson. It was gratifying to see that part of the cleanup is being carried out very effectively. The staff of the International Bird Rescue Research Center seemed totally committed, but most importantly, birds are being saved. During one of our boat surveys with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials, our vessel captured a clearly sick and oiled juvenile Roseate Spoonbill, and had it sent to the Center for treatment. Two days later, they brought out the bird for us to see and it looked clean and alert - much improved from the feeble state that allowed it to be simply picked up by hand off an oil boom 48 hours earlier," Parr said.

To view the report, link to: [2].


American Bird Conservancy ( [3]) conserves native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats while building capacity of the bird conservation movement. ABC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.

URL to article:


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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