As we start the 107th day since the Gulf Oil Spill began, I think things are beginning to look a little brighter, as work continues around the clock to clean our water and beaches, and save our wildlife. More than 4,900 active response vessels and 85 aircraft are currently working on the oil spill.
There has been little or no oil impact on Alabama beaches for the past two weeks. Beach cleaning machines rake beaches nightly and beaches are open, clean and swimming with caution is permitted. On July 30th, the Alabama Dept. of Public Health lifted the swimming advisory for Gulf waters off of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, based on improvement in water conditions.
Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources opened all state waters for recreational catch-and-release fishing only. Fishing of any kind is still prohibited in the closed area of federal waters, which currently includes an area off shore from Louisiana to Cape San Blas, Florida. Recent observations suggest the oil slick is dissipating faster than expected at the surface. Both commercial and recreational fishing could re-open within days on the Alabama coast after a summer long layoff because of the oil spill, depending on impending test results.
Located in Theodore, Alabama, the Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is doing some amazing work. Since June 26, 135 sea turtle nests have been relocated from beaches in Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle, to a NASA incubation facility near Cape Canaveral, Florida. The eggs are carefully excavated from the sand and transported in climate controlled trucks, with minimal vibration. These are primarily loggerhead sea turtles. To date, 2,168 hatchlings have completed incubation and been released into the Atlantic Ocean. The number of nests will continue to rise over the next few weeks, reaching a peak the week of August 23rd, when 4,000 eggs per day will be transported. If all goes well, some of the females might return to the Northern Gulf in 35 years or so to lay eggs of their own. More than 1,400 birds have been rescued throughout the Gulf Region after exposure to spilled oil and about a third have been rehabilitated and released. Brown Pelicans have been recently released on the Texas Gulf Coast after being rehabilitated.
Some positive reports continue to come every day and we continue to pray for our Gulf.
Thanks to Confections In Glass for reporting.