Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sierra Club Gulf Coastal Monitoring Continues:

Barataria Bay

On Wednesday, July 21 a group consisting of representatives from Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Sierra Club Delta Chapter, National Public Radio and the American Birding Association set out from eastern Grand Isle north into Barrataria Bay to make observations of then current conditions. We traveled to Queen Bess Island, Grand Terre Island, and Cat Island. These islands are rookeries for Pelicans, Egrets, Spoonbills and numerous others. Our observations took place at a time when active inundation of oil had subsided for the previous three weeks. So we did not see oil on the water but were able to see oiled vegetation in island shorelines and some partially oiled birds. Some oiled boom had been washed up into the shoreline but was being left there for later retrieval. Partially oiled boom surrounded sensitive parts of the islands. Bird population looked generally good to my inexperienced eye but we were advised that overall population was down about 15 percent and that the worst effects on population would occur in the reproductive cycle when newly fledged birds try to make it through oiled vegetation and inner pools of water that have not been well cleaned of oil. Grand Isle and Barataria Bay have been some of the areas most affected by BP oil.

Freshwater Bayou

On Saturday, July 24 another group consisting of eight volunteers set out in four canoes down Freshwater Bayou which is west of Atchafalaya Bay and Marsh Island. The group split up, two boats going east and two going west paddling for several miles in each direction along the gulf shore. The water was very smooth and conditions were unusually favorable for paddling on the gulf. No new oil or affected wildlife was observed during the outing. The monitoring trip in the area of Freshwater Bayou is an area that has been consistently monitored by Sierra Club Acadian Group and Water Sentinals volunteers since the time of the BP disaster. This area appears to be doing well in response to only very light oil.

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