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Monday, May 31, 2010

Oil Spill and Volunteer Info

From the Florida Master Naturalist program:


As the environmental catastrophe referred to as the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill continues to unfold in the Gulf, there may be need for our help. I know there is also great interest in the progress on containing the spill and the efforts to clean up the mess it leaves, which may eventually include shorelines in Florida.

I have waited to send this email to ensure I provide the best and most accurate information available.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the spill and containment efforts, please refer to the official website for the Deepwater Horizon Response at: http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/site/2931/

This website has a great deal of information, including daily updates.

To see an image of the approximate extent of the spread of the spill in the Gulf, as reported and prepared by USA Today, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/oil-spill-map.htm.

Volunteer assistance is needed and the official FLORIDA volunteer response website for the Deep Horizon Oil Spill is through the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service at: http://www.volunteerfloridadisaster.org/

There are many links for various volunteer activities on this website.

Note that a companion website: http://www.1-800-volunteer.org/1800Vol/volunteerflorida/viewEventDetails.do?eventId=31601

Specifies that:

“Volunteers will not be in direct contact with oil or oil-contaminated materials. Oil-contaminated materials will only be handled by trained, paid workers such as Qualified Community Responders (QCR) and not by volunteers. Oiled wildlife will only be handled by trained, contracted professionals. Even though volunteer opportunities with the oil spill are limited, volunteer opportunities in your local community are limitless. Many organizations need support and service now more than ever. The oil spill is bringing communities together, and your volunteer service strengthens local responding groups. Thank you for the time you give now, and the time you will continue to give after the oil spill.”

However, there may be a great deal of assistance needed doing other services, and I encourage you to register.

Additional ways to assist and report important information include:

Reporting oiled wildlife – the FLORIDA hotline to call to report oiled wildlife is: 1-866-557-1401

Reporting oil on the shoreline - the FLORIDA hotline to call to report oiled wildlife is: 1-877-272-8335 (1-877-2-SAVE-FL) or #DEP from your cell phone.

Two documents that provide useful information regarding oil spill reporting can be viewed (and printed) online at:



Let’s hope the latest efforts to contain the spill are successful and that Florida’s coastal environment is not severely damaged, but let’s also prepare to assist in the clean-up and associated actions to the extent we are able.


Martin B. Main, PhD
Professor, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Program Leader, Florida Master Naturalist Program (http://www.masternaturalist.ifas.ufl.edu/)
University of Florida
SW Florida Research and Education Center
2685 State Road 29 North
Immokalee, FL 34142
ph: 239.658.3400 fax: 239.658.3469