2012 June 13
Coastal waters of Louisiana
Gulf of Mexico
Here is the official summary of the U.S. Coast Guard's investigation into inquiries about foam seen in the waters off Venice, LA following a planned dispersant spraying exercise by MSRC (Marine Spill Response Corportation) out of Kiln, MS at Stennis Airport (KHSA). MSRC planned and claims to have used water as a mock dispersant for this exercise, scheduled for and carried out on June 13, 2012. The original plan submitted by MSRC to the USCG can be downloaded as a pdf file here, under this website's main menu item "Flight Tracks" and titled "20120613-USCG Investigation of MSRC Dispersant Spraying Exercise."
The public was also notified of this planned exercise by a Local Notice to Mariners, a photo of which is included in the gallery below this official summary. The other photos in this gallery come from the original plan available here for download.
Here is the official letter from the USCG to Billy Nungesser, President of Plaquemines Parish, who requested the investigation.
Thanks to the USCG for sharing this with us!
Dear President Nungesser,
This email responds to concerns described in your July 3 press release regarding a recent dispersant training exercise, photos of a white substance on the surface of the water, and claims from fisherman of itching and burning caused by the substance. The Coast Guard and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office have investigated the incident and I'd like to share with you what we've found. Considering the community's sensitivity to dispersant use from the Deepwater Horizon response, we take a claims like this very seriously and want to provide you any facts that help you better inform your constituents:
Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) conducted a dispersant training exercise on 13 June that involved spraying water from a non-military, contracted C-130 aircraft spraying water on a simulated oil spill. They do this from time to time to meet Coast Guard oil spill preparedness requirements for contractors with pollution response capability. MSRC made notifications per their company procedures and the Coast Guard issued a local notice to mariners dated 06 June 2012 (attached) and FAA issued a Notice to Airmen for aircraft in the area. MSRC's plan was to conduct the exercise offshore 50 miles east of the Bird's Foot Delta, but they made a last minute change and conducted it in the center Chandeleur Sound instead. on 13JUN12. Coast Guard staff inspected the aircraft, pumps and tanks on the ground in Kiln, MS before the aircraft took off. The tanks appeared to be filled with water which was confirmed by on scene MSRC personnel. Coast Guard staff observed the exercise remotely at the aircraft hangar using real time aircraft tracking software provided by MSRC.
The aircraft flew a pattern shown in the attached powerpoint file (13JUNimage) to the center of Chandeleur Sound and sprayed 1500 gallons of water. The aircraft was accompanied by a King Air spotter aircraft to ensure that the area was clear of boats and marine mammals, just as they would in an actual dispersant sortie. Coast Guard returned yesterday to conduct a follow-up site visit/inspection of the aircraft and its tank in Kiln, MS to verify their condition. MSRC representatives demonstrated for us the steps they take to fill the tanks with water and provided documentation to show only water was used. The aircraft used in the exercise began operation after the Deepwater Horizon response and has never carried dispersants. MSRC reports that nothing used in the training (the hoses, the totes that hold water and the tanks on the plane) has ever come in contact with dispersants.
So what about the photos and the reports from the fishermen? We don't know when the photos were taken or at what altitude, etc., but we believe that they were taken approximately 35 miles south and southwest of Chandeleur Sound near North Pass, east of Venice and the Bird's Foot Delta. We've marked the locations where we believe they were taken on the same attached powerpoint file (13JUNimage). In trying to establish a connection between the white substance in the photo and any type of dispersant spray, we're challenged by the considerable distance between the exercise location and the probable location of the photos. We've consulted dispersant application experts from NOAA and they say the photos don't remotely resemble how a dispersant spray would appear on water - dispersants don't "foam up" like this and multiple aircraft would have to make multiple applications to cover this large of an area.
We don't dispute the observations and symptoms the fishermen experienced and have consulted experts to see what they think. A biologist from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette indicated that "the photos certainly seem to show microscopic algal blooms. Common algae that are harmful (HAB=Harmful Algal Blooms) and provoke skin irritation in the Northern Gulf of Mexico belong to the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia". Our NOAA Scientific Support Coordination staff indicates that what is in the photos is consistent with naturally forming sea foam, and that this opinion is supported by academic biologists familiar with algal blooms who have also viewed the images provided. LADEQ believes that the substance in the photos was most likely due to an algae bloom and have provided photos (attached) of a similar phenomena in Chandeleur Sound in May 2010.
Certainly no dispersant application has been authorized by the Coast Guard and our Regional Response Team partners since the Macondo Well was capped in 2010. But our lesson in this is to make sure that parishes and stakeholders are better informed when these exercises are held so we can address concerns and misperceptions when they come up. MSRC has suspended water spraying exercises pending an internal review of procedures and external notification processes, and we will make sure that notifications will be made to the parish in the future. Exercises won't be held in Chandeleur Sound in the future... dispersants aren't preauthorized there anyway because of its shallow water and proximity to shore. These will be held further offshore away from concentrations of fishing boats.
Finally, please don't hesitate to call me anytime if you have any Coast Guard-related issues that I can help with. I appreciate your support and involvement with our spill response planning efforts and I hope we can work together when we have issues like this in the future.
Captain Peter Gautier
Sector Commander, Captain of the Port
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans
o (504) 365-2215
c (504) 628-4169
24-hr Operations Center (800) 874-2153
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|Stennis 2012 Training NOTIFICATION clean.pdf
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"The Story of Pellie Lou - a Pelican who survived the Gulf of Mexico oil spill"
by Bonny L. Schumaker, Ph.D.
With 46 photos from the Gulf of Mexico.
ALL proceeds go to benefit Gulf wildlife!
Order your autographed hard copies or an electronic copy here!
Read about our rescues under Rescue Tails!
Here are some samples:
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20130428 - This 15-yr-old deaf, blind, arthritic senior held out in a hot, dry, desert parking lot until love finally found him!
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Six rescue dogs from east Texas find forever homes in Nevada and California!
Who was rescued, and who was the rescuer? Anyone who has known this kind of bond has felt something so deep, so real, so ancient, that it cannot be described with words. These bonds ground us and free us from pettiness in our lives. Thank you Sheba. Rest in peace.
A Letter From Your Admirers! 20121231
This was a last-minute challenge that seemed beyond even our own grandest heroic imaginings. But it turned out not to be beyond the devoted hearts and energies of about 30 rescuers, shelter staff, volunteers, and families working together. Forty-three (yes, 43!) dogs in one day, from dead-ends in a Porterville shelter to homes and real lives with real humans who love and want them. Rescuers ROCK!
Orphaned very young, left alone and hungry til her fur fell out and her skin was covered with mange. Thanks to some big-hearted Texas rescuers, not only did she recover, she found the family who wanted to love her forever. How glad we were to be able to give this little pup with the big paws the ride to the rest of her life!
20121205-Blackie Goes Home at Last, and Taylor Turns Texan!
Four long months since Blackie's lifelong human companion and partner Tammy suffered a serious injury from a passing truck and disappeared from his life. Suddenly Blackie was in a shelter kennel, and Tammy fought for her life as she dreamed of her beloved dog. Thanks to many people, both of these souls survived to find each other again! This was a rescue and a reunion we'll never forget.
The same rains that made us work "On WHEELS Of Care" this week kept us grounded for this trip, which serendipitously combined the transport of Skip northward and the joyful and miraculous reunion of Miss T'Chen, who had been rescued and taken to Illinois after Hurricane Isaac, with her family in Baton Rouge!
This flight went almost as planned, and our plane was filled to over-flowing on every leg. And we met some wonderful new cat and dog rescues in Idaho and Oregon!
20 Lucky rescued dogs flown to homes in Canada!
2012 Sep 22
It turned out to a journey full of unexpected challenges, but these 20 lucky lovable canines who had been through the worst of times in California were just the best through it all, and now they are warming the hearts and laps and lives of some very lucky Canadian families!
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Tale of seven cities, six cats, and five goats!
2012 July 16
Who knows if the pleas for help brought the plane, or vice-versa.
But when serendipity puts this much together, there's no saying no!
Homeless Mom and Pups no More!
2012 July 08
Sometimes rescuers find the IDEAL person to adopt that animal in need ...
themselves! And in the process, a hole gets filled for the entire family.
This lucky mom now lives with Bear, Sheba, and Dave!
From Empty Nest to Love Fest!
2012 May 11
That last urgent plea came for the five orphaned pups ...
but what about the two large senior boys who would probably never get adopted?
Some people are just angels, meant to be who they are and where they are.
Check out these two and their new happy pack!
JEREMIAH has come home to us!
UPDATE 2012 July 7!
2012 January 13
His adopter called to say she had become ill, and could we care for Jeremiah? You bet we could. We rented a plane and flew to Arizona and retrieved him immediately. Jeremiah was indeed a true friend, and we aim to be his true friends, too. He has been eating like crazy and slept his stress away for the first few days, and now he's acting like a young dog again. Read more here!
CHAMP found at the airport!
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A sad, scared but dignified young Champ quickly won the hearts of everyone who met him at the New Orleans airport, and within two days we had permission from his original breeders to give him to a young couple with a younger female boxer mix, all of whom fell totally in love with him at first sight! Champ and Miss Princess are leading the good life now, and Champ's new dad finally has the fishing buddy he wanted! They tell us we made their dreams come true. We think they made Champ's come true, too.
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Orphaned brother and sister, rescued and adored until calamity struck and they lost their family. Orphaned again, these gentle gems and perfect canine citizens found love and adventure with us until we found them their true forever home! Abby & Dinozo came with us to Washington January 7, and they were welcomed warmly and immediately into a home. Read more here!
Yo! Get a Load of Yolo!
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Left in the cold, high in the mountains of southern California, life was over before it had barely begun for this orphan teenager.
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Hardly that sought-after doggie in the window.
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Here they are during their flight with four other dogs Sep 29 (New Orleans to Oakland, CA, fuel stop in Roswell, NM).
And here's a photo from the happiest reunion ever!
More photos and updated videos here!
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New Year's Rescue: 33 dogs & cats are flown to rescue in the Pacific Northwest!
Hounds fending for themselves for years in Alabama fly to rescue in Arizona!
Romo & Stanley are flown to safe havens in Arizona!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2013
2013 Apr 12 - Mayflower, AR Pipeline Spill
2013 Apr 02 - Bayou Corne #6
2013 Mar 23 - IMMS Marine Mammals
2013 Mar 19 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#5
2013 Feb 15 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#4
2013 Jan 26 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#3
2012 Dec 24 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#2
2012 Nov 08 - Tar Sands and Texas
2012 Aug 30 - Hurricane Isaac Conquered
2012 Aug 28 - Hurricane Isaac Arrives!
2012 Aug 13 - Sinkhole in Bayou Corne, LA
2012 Jun 13-Dispersant Spraying Exercise off LA
2012 April - Chronicles of the Endeavor
2012 Dec 10 - How Dilute is Dilute Enough?
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2012
Sat Nov 17 - Platform Explosion
Wed Nov 14 - Barrier Islands 1
Sat Nov 10 - OIL
Fri Nov 09 - OIL
Sat Oct 06 - Whale Sharks
Fri Oct 05 - OIL
Fri Sep 14 - OIL
Sun Sep 09 - Hurricane Isaac
Sun Aug 12 - Whale Sharks
Wed Jul 11 - Whales & More
Fri Jun 29 - Whale Sharks & More
Dominica - The Nature Island!
On Wings Of Care flies to the Eastern Caribbean for whales and sea turtles!
Read more here!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2011
Sperm Whales & Whale Sharks:
Cape Cod, MA
Our Gift for YOU for 2011!
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Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf, 2010
Galapagos Veterinary Support
Galapagos vets do much with little,
thanks to true friends who shipped a TON of supplies and meds from the U.S. in June, 2011.
“Man can no longer live for himself alone. We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe.”