Melanie Driscoll: We're braced for a heavy impact and the food-chain collapsing
Monday 24 May 2010
It's really hit hard in the past couple of days. It seemed, initially, that it was little fingers of oil that would come in then get washed out again by the tide. Now it's coming in with thick waves. Heavy oil is washing up.
Behind it, more oil is spewing from the Gulf and that means there's a mass of oil that will continue to break up on to those shores and beaches.
We've been working there for 20-hour days. We're trying to work on this at a strategic level with a long-term conservation plan about how we maintain and protect habitats into the future as, hopefully, the leaking oil gets capped.
But we're bracing for a really heavy impact on the habitat and the birds. The area is incredibly rich. It's both rich in diversity but also in abundance. There are vast marshes and miles and miles of beaches and, at this time of the year, birds are just packed into those areas for breeding. The impact on the migrant birds will be very heavy, [especially on] the breeding terns and the breeding marsh birds. We're mobilising volunteers to help with individual birds, planning and documenting the effects of the spill.
While there's this large mass of oil that we can see on the surface, there are untold volumes of oil under the surface. We could see the food chain collapsing, which could cause as much damage to the birds as the oil. We could see the young born early being fed with tainted fish or abandoned because the parents die and don't come back.
What we're seeing now is very distressing. We've been working to save some of these habitats for years. I spoke to some of my co-workers – and we've been dealing with this for a month – and I have never heard them sound so depressed. They told me that they went to a restaurant on Grand Isle and the manager there started to cry. After all, it's her home.
Melanie Driscoll is the director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society's Louisiana programme
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars
A million homes to be heated by river water energy
Malawi to burn its £5m ivory stockpile this week - and demonstrate its commitment to wildlife conservation
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 3 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
- 4 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen withi...
£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...
£13000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Every day they get another 1000...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...