Gulf Coast Facts & Figures
The Gulf Coast
is one of DU's
five highest-priority conservation areas
in North America and a mainstay for wintering waterfowl, supporting more than 13 million ducks & geese in some years.
While the potential exists for the oil spill to have both short- and long-term consequences for habitat, waterfowl and other wildlife on the Gulf Coast, DU's focus remains on the long-term loss of Louisiana coastal marshes that has been underway for decades and threatens this vital ecosystem.
If the spill continues for additional weeks or months, numerous shorebirds, waterfowl and other wetland wildlife will be at serious risk.
The earliest fall migrants (several species of shorebirds) are expected to arrive on the Gulf Coast in mid-July, and the earliest waterfowl migrants (adult male blue-winged teal) will arrive in mid-August.
DU will monitor any long-term effects of the oil spill on these wintering grounds for millions of migratory waterfowl.
Important wintering waterfowl species include gadwall, green-winged teal, northern pintails, American wigeon, northern shovelers, mallards, blue-winged teal, lesser scaup, canvasbacks and redheads.
More about these waterfowl species >>
Locally breeding mottled duck populations using fresh and intermediate salinity marshes may also be affected, but it is too early to tell if these birds will be impacted.
DU's Oil Spill Resource Center
DU's Gulf Coastal Prairie Conservation Initiative
Dr. Tom Moorman's letter on DU's work on the Gulf Coast
Louisiana Coast: Here today, gone tomorrow