Ed Clark Trip to Gulf Coast June 2010

UPDATE:   Statement of Wildlife Center President Ed Clark on Report of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling  [January 19, 2011] Reflections on the Oil Spill:  One Year After the Explosion  [April 21, 2011]  Highlights of Oil Spill Damage Assessment Team Activities in the Gulf of Mexico June 10 - 15, 2010

 Prepared by Ed Clark I was pleased to be invited to participate on a team of wildlife and habitat experts invited to tour areas impacted by the explosion on April 20 of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig operated by British Petroleum (BP) and the subsequent spill of light crude oil from the deepwater well known as Mississippi Canyon 252.  While exact spill figures are not available, the current estimates are that some 40,000 – 65,000 barrels of oil per day are still flowing from the ruptured wellhead into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana.  This spill is the largest man-made environmental disaster in US history. The interdisciplinary damage assessment mission was organized and hosted by the Humane Society of the United States [HSUS]. The purpose of the mission was to gain an accurate understanding of the issues surrounding the spill, and identify areas in which additional effort or resources might be needed to meet both the short-term and long-term needs of wildlife and the environment.  The intent was to develop a set of observations and proposals upon which action plans could be based.  Members of the team included an eco-toxicologist from Canada, whose doctoral work was on the impact of oil on wildlife, a marine mammal expert from Massachusetts, a habitat specialist from Maryland, a veterinarian from Tennessee who is experienced in disaster response, a disaster response planning expert from Florida who managed much of the Humane Society’s animal rescue response following Hurricane Katrina, and the manager of the Humane Society’s three direct wildlife care centers nationwide who also has extensive disaster response experience.  Then, there was me, experienced in the direct handling and care of wildlife, as well as the development of cooperative efforts between public and private institutions.  Prior to the trip, all team members had to complete BP’s Hazardous Materials Safety Certification course, to assure familiarity with the serious dangers of proximity to and contact with crude oil. What follows is a summary of the mission itself. June 10 report June 11 report June 12 report June 13 report June 14 report  Conclusions  Responding to the Wildlife Crisis in the Gulf: Statement of Wildlife Center of Virginia President Ed Clark  [June 21]            News Interviews with Ed About the Gulf Coast Trip   Fall 2010 World Gone Mad, Bridgewater September 21, 2010 The Oil and the Turtles, Vanity Fair August 4, 2010 President of Wildlife Center of VA Speaks Out, WSET-TV July 28, 2010 Wildlife Center Focuses on DC 100 Days Into Oil Spill Crisis, WHSV-TV July 26, 2010 A Wildlife Update, Virginia Insight, WMRA July 14, 2010 Gulf Reports Still Troubling, editorial, The Daily Progress In early July Ed visited several wildlife rehabilitation centers in south Florida.  On July 2 he was interviewed in Key West about his recent experiences. Part I Part II Part III Part IV June 24, 2010 State Expert Looks to Aid Oil-Drenched Animals, The Free Lance-Star Correction June 21, 2010 Feds to Wildlife Center:  Thanks, But No Thanks, Augusta Free Press June 18, 2010 Ed Clark Tours the Gulf of Mexico, WMRA June 17, 2010 Wildlife Center President Makes Trip to Gulf Coast, The News Leader June 16, 2010 Not Enough Rescue Workers in the Gulf, The Charlottesville Newsplex June 16, 2010 Virginia Wildlife Expert Returns from the Gulf Coast, WDBJ-TV June 16, 2010 Expert Shows How to Clean Oil-Soaked Wildlife,  WSET-TV June 16, 2010 Wildlife Center of VA President Back from Gulf, WSLS-TV June 16, 2010 Frustrated Clark Returns from Gulf, WVIR-TV June 16, 2010 Virginia Wildlife Expert Visits Gulf Coast, WVTF June 15, 2010 Valley Man Returns From Research Trip on the Gulf  Coast, WHSV-TV June 15, 2010  Analyst Gives First-Hand Account of Gulf Disaster, WSET-TV June 9, 2010 Local Man Going to Help in Gulf, WSET-TV June 8, 2010 Local Wildlife Expert Heads to Gulf Coast, The Charlottesville Newsplex June 8, 2010 Valley Expert Headed to Gulf to Help Wildlife, WHSV-TV June 8, 2010 President of the Wildlife Center of Virginia Heads to Gulf, WSLS-TV June 8, 2010 Helping Gulf Wildlife, News Virginian June 11, 2010 Wildlife Center Director Heading to Gulf, WVIR-TV