Coast Guard partners with Florida agencies to remove oil from Gulf Islands National Seashore

The Coast Guard federal on scene coordinator and the state on scene coordinator from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in consultation with Federal Trustees: Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and the National Park Service, coordinated efforts to remove weathered oil, discovered after Hurricane Sally, from a half-mile area of Johnson Beach, Florida, October 15, 2020.

The impacted area is located on federally designated, critical habitat and marine protected areas. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ed Wargo.

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So my name’s Cody Fleshman. I’m a Marine Science Technician First Class. Today we are in the Johnson Beach area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore conducting shoreline cleanup from some oil that was previously displaced by Hurricane Sally. So what we’re doing is we’re coming into this environment, which is an environmentally sensitive area, the responders are using manual removal to minimize the impact of the oil spill removal from the environmentally sensitive area.

Good afternoon, I’m Adam Davis. I’m a NOAA scientific support coordinator. I work for the Office of Response and Restoration. With the regards to the support that we’re providing directly for this cleanup on Johnson Beach, we help provide information on the best removal techniques that are necessary to remove the oil. We always try and strike a balance between the impacts of our operations on the environment as well as the potential impacts of the oil.

My name is Joey Whibbs. I work for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and I’m an emergency response specialist. So, during events like this, we put an emphasis on working together with our partners the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, and the National Park Service to ensure that our objectives are met. In this case, we’re talking about mitigating the impacts that the oiling has on the environment and wildlife.

My name’s Jennifer Manis. I’m a district biologist with the Gulf Islands National Seashore with the National Park Service. It’s important that we’re out here today picking up oils to protect the wildlife that’s out here. We have a lot of state in-peril birds and also federally protected birds that use the shoreline for feeding, for roosting, foraging. It’s a national seashore, and the idea is to keep it as natural as possible so coming out with hand crews doing minimal impact to remove the oil is beneficial to the ecosystem as a whole.

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