I want to reassure everyone the beaches are still the beautiful white sandy beaches you have always known. Our amazing wildlife is flourishing all around and the little ones are starting to peek their heads out, everywhere we turn! It is a great time to be at the beach, small, to no crowds and perfect weather! Below are some answers to some of our most often asked questions, lately. I have also included the daily update for the Gulf Shores.com website about our local area.
Lance LeFleur, Director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management:
There is an Area Contingency Plan (ACP)(https://ocean.floridamarine.org/acp/mobacp/) created for these kinds of situations that has been vetted by all agencies involved (which is now being followed).
At the wellhead, they are injecting dispersants at depth, causing the oil slick to break up into small oil droplets that are rapidly diluted and subsequently biodegraded by micro-organisms occurring naturally in the marine environment. Exposure to air, sunlight, & wave action also degrades the oil. They are also restarting the in situ burning today.
There is a two-stage protective process planned for the shorelines – shallow water skimmers & booms to catch what they miss. The booms are being tended and repositioned as needed – the placement is determined by the ACP. The highest priority at this moment is to close off Mobile & Perdido Bay entrances. The port of Mobile will remain open, using a decontamination process for ships entering the area (there will also be a decontamination station at Weeks Bay).
Once the bays are protected, all resources will be focused on the beaches. So far, 7,000 volunteers have called the 1-866 number & BP will donate hourly wages for those volunteers to their chosen volunteer organizations.
Below is the update from the Convention and Visitor’s Breaue
- There are currently no effects of the oil spill on the beaches of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach and, according to NOAA forecasts, no shoreline impact is expected for at least 72 hours. Forecasts beyond 72 hours are not possible. At this point, the extent of any potential impact is unclear.
- Although NOAA has closed commercial and recreational fishing in a limited area between the mouth of the Mississippi River and Florida’s Pensacola Bay, there is large area of the gulf still open. Charter boats are leaving Orange Beach, Gulf Shores & Fort Morgan every day to fish areas up to 20 miles out and in our very plentiful inshore waters.
- All appropriate preventive measures, including oil-absorbing booms, are being used along Alabama’s beaches, bays, inlets and sensitive areas in an effort to prevent oil from reaching the shores. Officials are optimistic that any impact directly on the beaches can potentially be cleaned effectively and fairly quickly.
- National, state and local response teams are deployed at sites along the coast to deal with local effects.
- Official information pertinent to our local area is being posted here. This is confirmedinformation provided by the Unified Command response team (Coast Guard, Homeland Security, NOAA, Department of the Interior, BP and Transocean) and local emergency management officials. For detailed information about the entire incident visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com and response.restoration.noaa.gov.