Video: Oil Spill Updates from Dr. Tom Moorman

Dr. Tom Moorman, director of conservation planning for Ducks Unlimited's Southern Region, discusses the state of waterfowl habitat on the Gulf and DU's role in the recovery efforts in a three-part video series filmed at the 2010 DU National Convention.

Part One: The current state of the coast

Dr. Tom Moorman, director of conservation planning for Ducks Unlimited's Southern Region, discusses the state of wetlands along Louisiana's Gulf Coast after the oil spill. The oil, which has affected 100 to 150 miles of Louisiana coastline, has not yet reached interior marshes and wetlands, though approximately 30 miles of coastal wetlands have been infiltrated. Offshore oil may eventually spill into these shallow-water habitats, threatening food sources for migratory waterfowl, specifically scaup and redhead populations that use the region for wintering habitat starting in the fall. Ducks Unlimited is closely monitoring the situation as it progresses.

Part Two: What is DU doing?

Dr. Moorman explains the actions Ducks Unlimited has taken since the oil spill began. DU has contacted state and federal agencies in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida, as well as the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to offer help in any way DU is needed. DU's role likely will become more apparent after the situation settles down and the effects of the oil on habitat can be observed and measured. For the time being, DU's Governmental Affairs staff in Washington, D.C., is working on policy issues related to the spill, and DU is making sure its staff and volunteers are kept as up to date as possible on the situation. Dr. Moorman has had conversations with state and federal waterfowl biologists as to what should be done this winter to monitor the oil's impacts on waterfowl in the area. DU is prepared to jump in with both feet and do what it does best if called to action.

Part Three: DU's ongoing commitment to the Gulf Coast

Dr. Moorman describes the effects the oil spill may have on waterfowl and DU's conservation work in and around the Gulf Coast. The threats to waterfowl come in two waves. First, the oil threatens the birds directly, with most oiled birds perishing. Second, the birds' food sources will most likely be destroyed or contaminated by the oil, causing the birds to either move on to other habitat or ingest the contaminated food, which might kill them.

The oil spill may impact DU projects in the Louisiana coastal region. Generally, DU feels positive about the status of its projects in the region. One project in particular, a freshwater diversion project at Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area in southern Plaquemines Parish, could actually assist with recovery efforts. This diversion dam project is designed to divert fresh water from the Mississippi River into Louisiana's coastal marshes, which could help flush out oil that makes its way into the interior.

DU will continue its wetlands conservation work on the Louisiana coast, where it has worked for 25 years and has restored nearly 100,000 wetland acres. The region, which was already losing between 16,000 and 20,000 acres of wetland habitat annually before the oil spill, remains a high-priority area for DU, both during the spill and afterward.

—Lauren Oxner

Oil spill resources