BP issued a press release this week stating that its active cleanup efforts in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida were now complete. In Louisiana, there are still over 100 miles of shoreline that are still being cleaned or monitored. Despite the end of the active cleanup in some states, BP remains responsible for removing any oil from the Macondo well that may wash up in the future. You can read the press release here.
While this may be a significant milestone as we pass the third anniversary of the spill, not all the news is good. The National Wildlife Federation has released a report that details some of the ongoing issues in the Gulf, some of which may be related to the DWH spill. The whole report can be found here, but some of the main concerns are continuing high mortality of dolphins and sea turtles, damaged coral, and negative impacts to killifish, an important baitfish. We don’t know for sure if these problems are a direct result of the oil, but many researchers are actively working to better understand the role that oil plays in the function of these organisms.
Fortunately, shrimp and brown pelicans are two species that, according to the National Wildlife Federation report, are doing well in the Gulf. If we want that to continue, however, we’ll need to commit resources to large scale habitat restoration, especially the coastal wetlands. Let’s hope that the public remembers and the political will remains to develop and implement long-term, sustainable restoration projects on our Gulf coast.