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DOI News



DOI Officials Survey Impact on Natural Resources


05/08/2010


The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED May 8, 2010, 6PM
PAST 24 HOURS

Natural Resources Impact Assessments
Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland and National Parks Service Director John Jarvis surveyed the impact of the oil spill on natural resources in the Gulf Islands. In total, 310 DOI personnel have been deployed as part of the oil spill response, representing the DOI Gulf Leadership Team, FWS, MMS, NPS and the DOI Office of Emergency Management.

U.S. Geological Survey Oil Response Team Activated
The U.S. Geological Survey Oil Response Team was activated to communicate and coordinate daily response activities, including supplying biologic, coastal geology, hydrology and geographic data to other agencies, partners, and emergency responders.

Damage Assessment Activities
NOAA’s Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program is coordinating an assessment of damage to natural resources with federal partners, BP (as the responsible party), and trustees in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Multiple agencies from each state are engaged. This assessment will gauge impacts to fish, shellfish, marine mammals, turtles, birds and other sensitive resources as well as their habitats, including wetlands, beaches, mudflats, bottom sediments, corals and the water column. The trustees will also assess any lost human uses of these resources, for example, fishing, hunting, and beach recreational closures. The trustees are also assessing the efficacy of evaluating impacts from the response, including burning, and dispersant use at the surface and at depth.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is a legal process to determine the type and amount of restoration needed to compensate the public for harm to natural resources and their human uses that occur as a result of an oil spill. For more information, visit here.

Expanded Low-Interest Small Business Loans
SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced that SBA is making economic injury assistance available in 21 additional parishes for small businesses suffering financial losses following the Deepwater BP oil spill that shut down commercial and recreational fishing along the state’s southeast coast. With these additions, SBA economic injury loans are now available in 34 Louisiana parishes and seven Mississippi counties.

Fishing Industry Engagement
NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and her staff continue to meet with fishermen in the oil-affected area to listen to their concerns and share with them what NOAA scientists have learned so far about how the oil might be affecting their potential seafood catch.

NOAA Observational Flights
NOAA aircraft flew observational overflights of the oil spill, during which trained observers recorded locations of oil and affected wildlife. NOAA aircraft also flew coastal photography and mapping missions. A NOAA P‐3 aircraft (one of NOAA’s hurricane hunter aircraft) flew preparatory missions to calibrate trajectory models of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current. 

By the Numbers to Date:
•  Personnel were quickly deployed and more than 10,000 are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
•  More than 270 vessels are responding on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels to assist in containment and cleanup efforts—in addition to dozens of aircraft, remotely operated vehicles, and multiple mobile offshore drilling units.
•  Approximately 923,000 of feet of boom (regular and sorbent) have been deployed to contain the spill—and 1.3 million feet are available.
•  Nearly 2.1 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
•  More than 290,000 gallons of dispersant have been deployed. More than 185,000 gallons are available.
•  10 staging areas have been set up to protect vital shoreline in all potentially affected Gulf Coast states (Biloxi, Miss., Panama City, Fla., Pensacola, Fla., Pascagoula, Miss., Dauphin Island, Ala., Port Sulphur, La., Shell Beach, La., Slidell, La., Port Fourchon, La., Venice, La.).
Resources:
•  For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.
•  To contact the Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center, call (985) 902-5231.
•  To volunteer, or to report oiled shoreline, call (866) 448-5816. Volunteer opportunities can also be found here.
•  To submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system, or to submit alternative response technology, services, or products, call 281-366-5511.
•  To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401. Messages will be checked hourly.
•  For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit www.epa.gov/bpspill.
•  For National Park Service updates about potential park closures, resources at risk, and NPS actions to protect vital park space and wildlife, visit http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/oil-spill-response.htm.
•  To file a claim, or report spill-related damage, call BP’s helpline at (800) 440-0858. A BP fact sheet with additional information is available here. For those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution, can call the Coast Guard at (800) 280-7118. More information about what types of damages are eligible for compensation under the Oil Pollution Act as well as guidance on procedures to seek that compensation can be found here.