Birds, Oil and Barataria Bay
Rick Steiner, oil spill specialist, conservationist and professor at University of Alaska visits Barataria Bay, Louisiana on the 47th day of the BP Gulf oil spill.
Barataria Bay is a large expanse of water and marsh on Louisiana’s coast. Dozens of seabird species including Brown Pelicans, Royal Terns, Sandwich Terns, Black Skimmers, Roseate Spoonbills and many more call this area home.
In the video, Rick describes Cat Island which is located in Barataria Bay:
This island is one of the many, many critical nesting habitats on the southern coast of Louisiana that is being hammered by this oil.
While filming an oiled covered Brown Pelican trying to fly, you can hear an unidentified person off camera sum up the situation:
Oh my god man. God help us all. Sorry man. This is really bad guys.
Rick shows us booms that are not keeping the oil out. He says:
The booming has been ineffective. They are not tending these booms at all. There is more oil that we have seen inside the booms than outside. The absorbent boom, these long white, formerly white sausage like things are meant to absorb the oil from the water. They do that very well, but then you need to take them out of the water and they haven’t done that.
The team spots a few Brown Pelican chicks in a nest. Rick talks about what he sees:
There are some chicks in the bushes over here with oil right beneath them in the Mangrove roots. They will have to cut right through that to even take their first flight. So before they take their first flight they will be oiled from our negligence offshore. It’s just a tragedy.
This is a very difficult video to watch at times, but it is the reality of the situation in the Gulf. Our emotions when seeing these images can be what drives us to do great things.