Gulf Oil Spill Update,
Monday, June 28, 2010, 11:30 a.m.
Like everyone along the Gulf Coast, the CVB is monitoring the clean-up of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and relying on official updates from the Unified Command response team and local emergency management officials for information. We will continue to post confirmed updates on this page as they become available.
We have been experiencing some significant oil impact across the island the last several days. While some stretches of beach are seeing less impact, others are experiencing greater amounts. Clean-up times seem to be improving. Mechanical beach rakes, capable of sifting even very small contaminates from the sand efficiently and safely, are now in use. There are now seven machines cleaning the beaches every night between midnight and 8:00 a.m. and city officials expect eight more machines to be delivered.
If double red flags are being flown at a beach area, it means the water is closed to swimming. This is different from a swim advisory, in which individuals are discouraged from swimming. In Gulf Shores it is illegal to swim when double red flags are in effect.
Regardless of the color flag being flown, the Alabama Department of Public Health has issued a swimming advisory in gulf waters off Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, and in bay waters immediately adjacent to Fort Morgan, in Bayou St. John, Terry Cove, Cotton Bayou and Old River. A swimming advisory means that individuals are discouraged from swimming in affected waters. To read advisory information and frequently asked questions, visit the Alabama Department of Public Health website.
The beaches are OPEN and visitors are still welcome to sunbathe and walk the beach, but we strongly suggest they swim in a pool or enjoy our many off-beach activities.
On June 24, the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources opened all state waters for recreational catch-and-release fishing only. This includes all gulf waters out to the three-mile state/federal line. Anglers are reminded to stay clear of booms and booming operations, all working vessels, and areas with visible oil and/or sheen. The pier at Gulf State Park is also reopened for catch-and-release fishing. For full information, click here.
The ferry between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan will continue to operate as scheduled, but there could be delays or occasional suspensions of service if oil is present in that area of Mobile Bay.
The City of Gulf Shores has temporarily waived parking fees at public beach areas.
The West 6th Street and Little Lagoon Pass public access and parking areas remain closed for an undetermined length of time. These areas are being used as work sites and staging areas for beach cleaning operations. The same is true for the parking area at Florida Point beach access.
If you have questions about conditions at a specific property location, please contact your rental management agent for accurate and up-to-date information.
According to NOAA, tarballs DO NOT pose a health risk to the average person. However, beachgoers are advised not to pick them up or bury them and asked to report any sightings. To report sightings of oil or tarballs on the beach, please call 866-448-5816. To report oil impacts to wildlife, contact 866-557-1401.
Fishing of any kind is still prohibited in the closed area of federal waters, which currently includes an area from Louisiana to Panama City, Florida. To view a map of the closed area, go to http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
The following back bay areas are closed to all types of recreational vessels and watercraft: Alabama waters south of a line running from the southernmost tip of Bear Point to the Eastern shore of the mouth of Ono Harbor on Ono Island. This will include Bayou St. John, Terry Cover, Terry Cove Harbor, Cotton Bayou, Perdido Pass and all canals entering these waters. Ono Island has closed its canals and harbor.
Skimming vessels are at work in Perdido Pass. A more long-term system of piping that will funnel oil away from the pass into a collection area is underway and will be in place soon.
For detailed information about the entire incident, including spill trajectory maps, visit the NOAA (http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/) or Deepwater Horizon (www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com) response sites.