Oiled wildlife discovered as pollution assessment teams survey Hurricane Isaac’s damage

America's Heartland Coast Guard NewsNEW ORLEANS – One dead juvenile pelican, 10 oiled dead nurtria and two live oiled pelicans were located in the marshes in the vicinity of Myrtle Grove, Sunday.

Wildlife Response Services is en route and will attempt to recover the live pelicans, collect the dead pelican and nutria, and look for any other impacted wildlife. Necropsies will be performed to determine the cause of death.

Teams located oil in the marshes in the vicinity of two inactive oil production facilities near Myrtle Grove, although there is no sign of an active leak, and it is still unclear if the oil originated from these facilities.

Coast Guard, EPA, and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality ground crews continue to monitor and assess the damage to waterways and oil, gas, and chemical facilities to determine the extent of any pollution impacts left in Hurricane Isaac’s wake.

Responders will collect oil samples from both the animals and the marsh and attempt to identify the source.

On the Lower Mississippi, Coast Guard waterways management teams are assessing and coordinating salvage plans for vessels that grounded along the riverbanks during the storm, to ensure strict safety standards are met before any attempt is made to refloat or move the vessels.

“We are in constant contact with vessel and facility owners and operators, as well as other waterway management organizations to make sure we learn as quickly as possible of any releases,” said Lt. Cmdr. Lushan Hannah, the Coast Guard incident commander for the response. “Many of them have taken steps on their own to contain and clean up any pollution.”

Coast Guard and state officials are asking residents to avoid any contact with chemicals or pollution they come across, and to report it to the Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Operations Center at 504-365-2200 or the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.

“Our priorities are safeguarding public safety and protecting wildlife and the environment while we work to return the impacted areas to a normal state,” said Hannah. “We are working with federal and state partners and the marine industry to make sure we locate as much of the pollution as possible and initiate cleanup operations.”

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