(2 page) Media Quick Summary
(21 page) Narrative Report,
(200 page) Full Report.
The Emerald Coast Chapter is proud to release the findings of our “State of the Beach” long term research study (linked above).
For the past two years, we have been diligently monitoring our beaches and assessing the impact of dispersed oil product from the BP Oil Disaster. During the past year, our chapter volunteers (Susan, Jack, Tony, Mike, and others) partnered with coastal geologist Rip Kirby. Together, we have collected from Gulf beaches greater than 70 unique samples and examined over 1,800 analytes.
We have returned to contaminated beach locations In Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi for follow up sampling. This frequent sampling has enabled us to determine if toxic concentrations of tar product are present and if the levels are diminishing over time.
Along the way, our volunteers also helped to develop new, rapid, cost effective, and reliable technology for locating and removing tar product on our beaches. We have aided the Unified Command, Coast Guard, and restoration operations with frequent reporting of contamination and sharing of our technological discoveries.
Our members have conducted underwater scuba assessments off the coast of Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Escambia Counties. We have also flown several aerial reconnoissance missions to assess beach impacts, search for submerged tarmats, and spot for surface oil. All of these done by volunteers and paid for by donations, largely from surfers and the surf related industry.
Members of our chapter have participated in countless local, state, and federal meetings. In our efforts to highlight the need for better research and to support bringing restoration fine money to the affected states, we have traveled as far as Washington D.C. where we met with representatives of Congress and the House of Representatives.
During our two year effort, we made our data publicly available online to anyone who cared to review it. Understandably, it is an enormous amount of data to digest and there is so much more to glean from the endeavor than the data alone can convey. We are pleased to share with you what we have learned.
This research was made possible by many public donations, collections taken up by surfers in Surfrider chapters around the Nation, and the heartfelt support of two ocean loving companies, Patagonia and O’Neill. The Norcross Foundation helped to get the ball rolling by coming through quickly and providing grants to assist with equipment needs. Timing was so important; these people and companies really stepped up and pitched in.
Together, we have made a significant contribution to the science of oil disaster response and remediation. With that science, we are now a bit better prepared for future disasters and certainly better informed of the long term beach toxicity inflicted by oil and dispersants.
Please share our report with others who may also be interested in healthy beaches!