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Stephanie - It's in the Bag! Environmental Recovery

Thank you for viewing my presentation. Here's what I would like to know from you: What are other recovery efforts you have heard about, or think ought to be employed?

To respond to my prompt and to submit any additional comments, questions or personal accounts related to my speech topic, please post in my discussion forum on the “Oil Spill Anniversary Conference” Facebook page. If you do not have a Facebook account, please e-mail me at speechstudentconference@gmail.com instead from your personal e-mail account. Please put my name in the e-mail title, so I’m sure to receive your message.

On Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at
9:00–10:15 a.m., I will be online to interact with you live via Facebook or e-mail depending on what works best for you. I’m looking forward to communicating with you at that time. Thank you!

- Stephanie

Informative Speech Final Draft                                                                      04/18/11

1.  Stephanie Lash

2.  It’s in the bag.

3.  To inform

4.)  As a result of my presentation, my audience will be able to explain the importance of the wetlands and what steps are being taken to restore the impact the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has had on this ecosystem to others in their community. 

INTRODUCTION

[Powerpoint cover slide]

Attention-getter:  The oil had saturated into the wetlands and killed thousands of organisms and plants it comes in contact will.  The damage is so catastrophic that it will take years for this ecosystem to recover from this disaster.

 This topic is crucial because this ecosystem is important to the beginnings of life for many of the Gulf Coast’s fish and birds.

Thesis Statement:  The impact the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has had on the wetlands is too large to ignore.

Today, I will be talking about the problems the oil spill has caused so far, the organization that is helping save the wetlands, how they are accomplishing this goal, and the extension of their plan to save the coastal wetlands

[Powerpoint Slide 2]

BODY

I.  The Wetlands

According to the Time magazine article Spotlight: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill written by Bryan Walsh, on April 24 the Coast Guard reported that more than 40,000 gal. of crude oil a day was leaking into Gulf waters just 50 miles south of the coast of Louisiana.

Within days, the spill had produced an oil sheen more than 1,800 sq. mi. large, threatening the sensitive Gulf coastline.

a.       Less than 5% of the land area of the U.S. is considered wetlands and Louisiana contains approximately 40 percent of the coastal wetlands found in the lower 48 states.  According to the Congressional Research Service, the wetlands reduce the severity of floods by acting as natural retention areas; consequently, destruction or loss of wetlands makes downstream flooding worse. Similarly, near shore wetlands act as buffers to reduce shoreline erosion and stabilize land. 

b.      Approximately half of the more than 200 animal species, 75% of bird species and 25% of plant species identified as endangered or threatened depend on wetlands for survival.  Oil contamination of birds can have acute effects. If contamination of its feathers is severe, the bird loses the feathers’ insulation properties and dies of hypothermia even in seemingly warm weather.  Also mammals are also affected by the oil because contact with oil can cause skin irritations.  This information was also provided by the Congressional Research Service.

c.       The plants found in the wetlands are some of the most site specific plants found anywhere in the world, as stated in gulfsaversolution.com.

[Powerpoint Slide 3]

d.      According to the director of Gulf Savers Solutions Leslie Carrere, the oil has saturated into the wetlands and the impact was so severe that there hasn’t been a clear estimate of how much of the wetlands have been affected.  It is very clear that the oil has had such a large impact.  She described to me the very unpleasant smell and that people would soon get headaches from the smell and chemicals in the air.  Carrere also has seen the effects the oil has had on the organisms that call this ecosystem “home”, due to the fact there were no bugs or birds anywhere near the affected areas and you could see the bodies of fish and crustaceans.

Also Brentin Mock states in his article, Oil’s effects on wetlands could be dire, that the oil infiltration threatens to decimate New Orleans’ natural first line of defense from devastating tropical storms.

[Powerpoint Slide 4]

II.    The Agency

Gulf Saver Solutions

a.       Gulf Saver Solutions was launched in the months following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  It is a non-profit organization which was created by the Restore The Earth Foundation Inc.

b.      Gulf Saver restoration projects are in partnership with The Gulf Coast Involvement Team, (GRIT) and other environmental organizations.

[Powerpoint Slide 5]

 

Their goal is to restore the wetlands that were impacted by the oil through a innovation called the Gulf Saver bag which are designed to begin remediation and restoration of ecosystems already damaged or destroyed from oil contamination and according to their website.  The Gulf Saver bag is an environmental bag that has been specifically adapted for the Gulf Coast ecosystems. 

 

a.       These bags help “jump start” new growth and restoration for the wetlands native grass.  The bag itself is a 100% all natural biodegradable “burlap (sand) bad”.  According to their website, it takes only 3-5 months for the bag to breakdown into the soil. All of the bag materials are supplied by Gulf Coast located suppliers and are later on assembled by the volunteers.

b.      The bag contains a package of native marsh grass plants that come from Gulf Coast nurseries and are selective to different types of wetlands.

c.       Also inside the bag, it contains Humus which is the result of the decomposition of animal and vegetable matter.  It is an all natural concentrate alive with beneficial micro organisms which digest the contamination in the water and soil and provide nutrients for root growth to support feed and protect marsh plants.  

d.      Each bag restores one foot of wetlands lost due to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the wetlands are crucial to our ecosystem and to our natural barrier from hurricanes. 

[Powerpoint Slide 6]

On December of 2011, the first Gulf Saver bags where used in Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Center in Louisiana.  When I interviewed Leslie Carrere via phone and e-mail, she had actually just completed a day’s work out in Venice, Louisiana.

The Gulf Saver Bags are being deployed to wetland sites identified within the Louisiana coastal area that are reported as damaged or affected by the oil. Wetland sites are being identified across Mississippi to the Florida coastal areas, and will have volunteers deployed to those sites as soon as funds are available. 

CONCLUSION

You now know about the problems the oil spill has caused so far, the organization that is helping save the wetlands, how they are accomplishing this goal, and the extension of their plan to save the coastal wetlands. The wetlands reduce the severity of floods by acting as natural retention areas.  The impact was so severe that there hasn’t been a clear estimate of how much of the wetlands have been affected.   The reasons for the Gulf Savers Solutions and their bags should be clear. Each bag restores one foot of wetlands lost due to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the wetlands are crucial to our ecosystem and to our natural barrier from hurricanes. 

[Powerpoint Slide 7]

  For any further information, please visit their website gulfsaversolutions.com.  

 

REFERENCES

Carrere, L. (2010). Gulf savers solutions. Retrieved from http://www.gulfsaversolutions.com

Corn, M. Congressional Resource Service, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy. (2010). The deepwater horizon oil spill: coastal wetland and wildlife impacts and response ( R41311). www.crs.gov

www.restoretheearth.org/

Mock, B. (2010, May 10). Oil’s effects on wetlands could be dire. thelensnola.org.

Walsh, B. (2010, May 10). Spotlight: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Time Magazine.

My interview with Leslie Carrere, Director of Gulf Savers Solutions.

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