Monday, May 17, 2010

Gulf of Mexico - What Happens Now?

Millions of gallons of oil have been spilled, and little progress has been made to stop the oil flow. Current estimates suggest that oil will continue to leak from the pipe, even with the new siphon hose, for months. With the excess of oil and chemicals being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, one has to ask the environmental question of "What Next?"

Current reports indicate a decline in Gulf Water Oxygen levels of nearly 30%. With the addition of oil, the level of oxygen will continue to fall, choking out the entire food chain of the gulf region.

The oil may not have come ashore with full force, but the ecosystem of the entire Gulf region is likely to be lost - the potential for a barren oceanic wasteland - where fish cannot feed on plankton, birds cannot feed on fish... sharks, dolphins, coral... What happens when the inner gulf becomes a toxic waste water region?

It will be interesting to watch... What I do know is that the ecosystem that is destroyed will not be the one that grows back. Non-native species will move into the region as the waters become more habitable. Possible some survivors could repopulate for their species, but they will be at a gross disadvantage to invasive non-natives. One thing is certain - it will take a generation to rebound... possibly longer... and the gulf will never be the same.


  1. Talk to the folks in Valdez ... they have first-hand experience at how that works. The fishing industry there was decimated, and is still only a part of what it was. On the other hand, it was a finite spill (11 million gallons).

  2. Rev - The issue of the ammount of oil is what I worry about - that this spill is uncontrollable, and could end up dwarfing the Valdez spill. Either way, these are messy, and the addition of chemicals to keep the oil at a depth is ensuring a future landfall downcurrent... awful.