While images of cattle and horses stuck in mud at Plaquemines Parish have filled our TV and computer screens and animal rescuers still struggle to care for all the stranded dogs and cats, now some more tragic news.
As this Examiner predicted before the hurricane hit, a Gulf still in recovery mode from the BP oil spill was not nearly ready for the onslaught of Mother Nature. And tonight, the U.S. Coast Guard Eighth District issued a press release confirming this.
The release stated that indeed, oiled wildlife had been found in the wake of Isaac.
The Guard said that on Sunday, one dead juvenile pelican, 10 oiled dead nurtria and two live oiled pelicans were found by oil pollution specialists in the marshes around Myrtle Grove, LA.
The Guard said that Wildlife Response Services is en route and will try to recover the live pelicans, collect the dead pelican and nutria, and look for any “impacted” wildlife. Necropsies will be performed.
Teams located oil in the marshes in the vicinity of two inactive oil production facilities near Myrtle Grove, the Guard said. Yet, there is no sign of an active leak, and it is still unclear if the oil originated from these facilities, they say.
The Guard, along with the EPA and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality ground crews continue to monitor and assess the damage to waterways and oil, gas, and chemical facilities to determine the extent of any pollution impacts left in Isaac’s wake.
Responders will collect oil samples from both the animals and the marsh.
On the Lower Mississippi, Coast Guard waterways management teams are assessing and coordinating salvage plans for vessels that grounded along the riverbanks during the storm, to ensure strict safety standards are met before any attempt is made to refloat or move the vessels.
“We are in constant contact with vessel and facility owners and operators, as well as other waterway management organizations to make sure we learn as quickly as possible of any releases,” said Lt. Cmdr. Lushan Hannah, the Coast Guard incident commander for the response. “Many of them have taken steps on their own to contain and clean up any pollution.”
Coast Guard and state officials are asking residents to avoid any contact with chemicals or pollution, and if anything like this is found please report it to the Sector New Orleans Operations Center at 504-365-2200 or the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.
“Our priorities are safeguarding public safety and protecting wildlife and the environment while we work to return the impacted areas to a normal state,” said Hannah. “We are working with federal and state partners and the marine industry to make sure we locate as much of the pollution as possible and initiate cleanup operations.”