Oil Impacts on Wetlands

This site is a central repository for scientific resources, news, experiences and opinions related to the impacts of oil on wetland ecosystems. Its purpose is to document the ecological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on wetlands, andthe experiences of the wetland science community as we respond to this unprecedented disturbance. You will find links to news, a searchable library for loading and retrieving links to scientific documents, and places to express your opinions. 

Horizon Disaster News

BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Report 4/27/11

The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling published their final report, a multimedia presentation of their work and a document that contains the report of their Chief Council. These materials are available at the following web site: www.oilspillcommission.gov

Deep Horizon Oil spill info 12/2/10

An SF-funded project (OCEAN-OIL) contains a wealth of information on the DeepwNater Horizon Oil Disaster. You can explore the information at the following The Encyclopedia of Earth web site. [GO]

Scientists Report Promising News from the Gulf 8/25/10

Scientists at the recent American Chemical Society conference reported promising findings related to the environmental impacts of the oil spill in the Gulf. Highlights included reports that seafood contamination is minimal with no detection of dangerous levels in any of the seafood tested, that some deep marine communities do not appear to have been impacted by oil, and that oil is degrading largely as expeced. For more information, check out this Science article.

Restoration Focus Must Be Long-Term 8/25/10

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who is working on behalf of President Obama to develop a Gulf restoration plan, contributed this op-ed column to The Times-Picayune. In it, he describes his commitment to restoring the Gulf, ensuring its recovery from the oil spill, and addressing long-term problems contributing to wetland loss in the region.

Claims of Oil-Related Fish Kill Retracted 8/25/10

Louisiana officials had claimed that a Gulf fish kill was linked to the oil-spill, but it now appears that the kill was smaller than originally thought and resulted from a hypoxia event unrelated to the spill. This Los Angeles Times article has the latest information. For their original report on the fish kill, you can read a previous article on the topic.

Has the Environmental Damage Been Exaggerated? 8/12/10

This Time article explores whether or not the environmental damage from the Gulf oil spill has been as bad as expected, and questions whether or not the damage has been exaggerated in the media. What do you think?

Signs of Recovery in Louisiana's Marshes 8/12/10

This Associated Press article describes early signs of marsh recovery from the oil spill. Scientists note cordgrass and mangrove regrowth in some areas, while others caution that it may be too soon to know what the impacts on coastal ecosystems will be. Despite the disappearance of some of the oil in the Gulf, concerns remain that further environmental impacts are possible, as explained in this Mobile Press-Register article.

What We've Learned 8/6/10

Given the apparent success of BP's static kill, this USA Today article examines what this oil spill has taught us about drilling and dealing with the environmental consequences of a spill of this magnitude.

Gulf Resilient but Stressed 8/6/10

This Associated Press article provides an overview of scientists' opinions regarding the environmental impacts of the oil spill on Gulf ecosystems. Scientists polled for this article emphasized that the Gulf is resilient, but that it is also subjected to a variety of stresses in addition to the oil spill.

Oil Spill Effects Far From Over 8/5/10

Despite claims that the "vast majority" of oil appears to be gone, scientists warn that the effects of the spill are far from over. This St. Petersburg Times article explains why scientists question claims about oil quantity in the Gulf and why oil impacts may persist for years to come.

Optimism over Resiliency of Oiled Marshes 8/5/10

In this USA Today article, Rick Jervis discusses the potential for oiled wetlands along the Louisiana coast to rebound from damage. The article also outlines potential restoration options for coastal wetlands.

Officials Assess Damage to Wetlands 8/5/10

This NPR story outlines the steps taken by NOAA's Damage Assessment Team to determine what environmental damage has occurred as a result of the oil spill and what restoration projects are necessary to improve conditions along the coast.

Marsh Grasses Key to Gulf's Recovery 7/26/10

This Washington Post article explains the importance of marsh grasses to coastal ecosystems and how their recovery may determine how quickly the Gulf rebounds from this oil spill.

BP Back to Work after Bonnie 7/26/10

Following a four day break in operations due to tropical storm Bonnie, BP is back to work drilling relief wells and preparing for "static kill". This Christian Science Monitor article provides more information.

Oil Spill's Impact on Coastal Ecosystem 7/19/10

In this Times-Picayune article, Bob Marshall outlines the various impacts of the BP oil spill on Louisiana's coastal ecosystem, including the marsh grasses, fishes, and birds, and highlights the numerous scientific uncertainties associated with the spill.

Officials Assess New Well Cap 7/19/10

BP's new cap appears to have stopped oil from leaking from the Deepwater Horizon well. However, this early success may be offset by possible seeps from other nearby locations. For an update, check out these Washington Post and New York Times articles.

Scientists Offered BP Consulting Contracts 7/16/10

According to this Mobile Press-Register article, BP has offered contracts to a number of university scientists along the Gulf Coast to help bolster their defense in oil spill litigations. The contract with BP would prohibit scientists from publishing, sharing, or presenting their oil spill research for at least three years. While some scientists have signed on to work with BP, others refused because of the research restrictions sought by the company.

Sand Berms Keeping Oil from Louisiana's Shores 7/16/10

In a CNN report, Governor Jindal of Louisiana claims that the controversial sand berms constructed off the coast are preventing some oil from reaching land.

BP Begins Tests on New Well Cap 7/14/10

Breaking news from the Associated Press: After the U.S. government approved plans for BP to test a new well cap in the Gulf, early reports indicate that closing the top portion of the cap has slowed the leak. Tests will continue in an effort to close the remaining two valves.

Migratory Birds Headed for Oiled Habitat 7/14/10

This USA Today article explores the threats of the oil spill to migratory bird populations that rely on coastal habitats in the Gulf.

Rescued Birds Released to Wild 7/14/10

The Fort Myers News-Press reported that representatives of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Coast Guard, and National Parks Service released 32 previously oiled birds from Lousiana, Mississippi, and Alabama at the Sanibel Gulfside City Park in Florida. Sanibel Island lies within the natural range of these brown pelicans and gannets.

Assessing Oil Spill's Environmental Costs 7/14/10

The effects of oil on coastal wetlands and wildlife are examined in this BBC News article, as are areas of scientific uncertainty related to oil impacts on deepwater organisms.

Lake Pontchartrain's History 7/7/10

In a recent Times-Picayune report, the oil spill is described as the latest in a long history of environmental problems affecting Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana.

Debate Over How to Protect Wetlands Continues 7/7/10

The Army Corps of Engineers denied permits to construct rock dikes across tidal inlets in Louisiana, a decision that highlights the debate over how best to protect wetlands and estuaries. For more information, check out this New York Times article.

Storm Disrupts Clean-up and Pushes Oil Inland 7/2/10

Tropical Storm Alex disrupts BP's clean-up efforts and pushes oil further into Gulf Coast wetlands and beaches, according to a Reuters report.