Friday, June 25, 2010

The Footprint of the Oil Spill

Posted By on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 1:43 PM

I am fairly obsessed with the destruction being wreaked on the habitat and waters of the Gulf by the BP oil spill — for environmental/ecological, economic, and, yes, personal reasons.

I've been going to the coast for years to fish, kayak the surf and marshes, swim, and boat. My family has vacationed there, off and on, for more than 25 years — from Perdido Key to Appalachicola. I love the Gulf Coast and I hate the images of destruction I'm seeing on the news and the Internet.

I have friends who live there year-round, and I've watched them weather hurricanes, the vicious collapse of the housing bubble, and now this crap.

And selfishly, I'm concerned because my family's annual stay in Grayton Beach is threatened. (Don't hate me for being shallow.) We're going the first of July — rain, shine, tarballs, or whatever. We'll hit the beach if we can. We'll bike and hike and kayak the lakes, if the oil has moved in. We'll spend our money where our hopes are.

This days footprint may best visually represent what BP is doing to the Gulf.
  • This day's footprint may best visually represent what BP is doing to the Gulf.

So, every day, I go here: USA Today's daily update of the oil spill's "progress." But I have to admit, I don't really understand it. How do you explain the enormous changes in the spill's footprint from day to day? Clean-up efforts? Tidal surges? Bad mapping? What? I'm somewhat, yes, selfishly, comforted that the spill seems to be shrinking away from the Emerald Coast to the east of Destin (where I'm headed) in recent days. And my friends living in that area say "the coast is [still] clear," at least for now.

If nothing else, I'll post a full, eyewitness report here in a couple of weeks.

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