The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) issued a new report yesterday examining the health of the Gulf’s wildlife and wetlands one year after the spill. The findings show that while some species hit hard by the Gulf oil disaster show signs of recovery, others will need the combined efforts of scientists, policymakers and regulators to recover.
The Long Road to Recovery: Wetlands and Wildlife One Year Into the Gulf Oil Disaster was written by NWF’s Senior Scientist Dr. Doug Inkley and reviewed by members of NWF’s Science Advisory Panel. The report determined that the status of sea turtles, tuna, and wetlands in the Gulf is “Poor” and in need of restoration. Other key findings include:
- The Gulf’s already-endangered sea turtle population has been dealt a severe blow by the oil disaster. Already strained bluefin tuna and Gulf wetlands and coastal habitats also were impacted.
- While this year’s spike in dolphin deaths is troubling, the Gulf’s large dolphin population should ensure long-term stability. Prospects for recovery also look promising for brown pelicans and shrimp.
“While the disaster response has focused on removing oil, little action has been taken to address the long-term species threats and wetlands habitat degradation exacerbated by the oil disaster. Much more needs to be done to ensure a complete recovery,” said NWF’s Dr. Doug Inkley. “It’s also important to remember what we don’t yet know. Previous catastrophes like the Exxon Valdez have shown that impacts of oil disasters last many years, or even decades.”