Fort McRae BP Collected 850 Pounds of Oil
BP crew cleans up 850 pounds of old oil
Written by Kimberly Blair
A 12-member BP cleanup crew collected about 850 pounds of weathered oil on the beach at Fort McRae Tuesday and Wednesday, after citizen complaints.
The area at the tip of Perdido Key belongs to Gulf Islands National Seashore and is a popular recreation and camping spot for boaters.
Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown halted big cleanup operations on March 1 to not interfere with bird-nesting season. But because the area is “heavily used by boaters on weekends,” Brown decided to allow crews to cleanup the tar mat.
The decision to remove the oil came after the seashore, BP and the U.S. Coast Guard received complaints, particularly from a social networking group called Citizens for a Clean Coast, to clean up the shoreline near Pensacola Pass.
Only the surface, up to 6 inches deep, was cleaned because the National Park Service is concerned deeper cleaning causes too much damage to the environment, Brown said.
No other exposed tar mats outside of designated public areas — those with parking lots, picnic or bathroom facilities — will be cleaned until after the nesting season, Brown said.
The oil at Fort McRae was submerged at an old high tide line, most likely by the storm surge of 2010′s Tropical Storm Bonnie, said Terry Morris, who heads of the seashore’s oil cleanup.
The surface oil in the area had been cleaned in January, but strong winter and spring winds uncovered more of the submerged oil. There are likely more layers of oil that will eventually be uncovered, Morris said.
“We’re going to be facing this (finding submerged oil) for a while,” he said.