Back In The Gulf, One Year Into The Oil Disaster

I’m writing this post at 11:14pm local time from the lobby of the Sheraton New Orleans, just a few blocks from the French Quarter. I’m here with National Wildlife Federation Senior Scientist Dr. Doug Inkley as we prepare to mark one year of the Gulf oil disaster.

So far, we’re far removed from any sign of the disaster. In fact, we shared a rental car shuttle with three guys arriving for a sport fishing trip. “Did you see their fishing pole case?” Doug asked me. “I think that cost more than my actual fishing pole.”

But first thing Tuesday morning, we’ll south to Myrtle Grove Marina, heading out on a small boat in search of lingering oil impacts in Louisiana’s wetlands. Our plan is to visit Bay Jimmy, then head out to Cat Island, prime breeding grounds for brown pelicans.

Before we get to see the oil’s impacts one year on, I thought I’d take a look back at some videos from our time in the Gulf last year. Here’s Dr. Inkley visiting a brown pelican rookery:


I got to join a boat that went out onto the oil slick itself, to within a few miles of the Deepwater Horizon site:


On the way out, we saw this endangered sea turtle struggling in the oil (we caught it, washed it off and motored far away from the oil before releasing it):


A month later, I visited the Gulf once again and found that while the oil persisted, the area’s mood had changed:


As the one-year mark of the Deepwater Horizon disaster approaches, what impacts will we find? What’s changed? What still needs to be done? We’ll be posting updates here at NWF’s Wildlife Promise all week long.

Speak Up for Gulf Restoration

Please take a moment right now to ask your members of Congress to pass oil disaster response legislation that devotes fines and penalties to coastal wetlands restoration.

Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s response to the Gulf oil disaster at