March 24th Will be the 20-Year Anniversary of Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

exxon valdez oil spill photo

Victims of the Exxon Valdez. Photo: Wikipedia
A Toxic Legacy: Don't Forget, We Need to Prevent the Next One
Naomi Lubick of Nature has a great piece about the Exxon Valdez oil spill. She looks back at what actually happened on March 24th, 1989, and then looks at the implications: Impact on ecosystems then and now, what was done to clean it, how long for oil to disappear, did anything good come out of this disaster, what about people living in Alaska?
exxon valdez oil spill clean up photo

Cleaning up. Photo: Public Domain
You can read the whole thing here, but here's a highlight:

Ten years after the spill, ecologists estimated that between 100,000 and 700,000 birds had died because of oil exposure, based on an extrapolation of the number of oiled carcasses collected on beaches and from the water. While many species are now back up to pre-spill levels, or are recovering well, two have not recovered at all: pigeon guillemots and Pacific herring.

On 31 December 2008, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council submitted a recovery plan for the herring, an economically important fish in the region. But some argue that the oil spill may not have been responsible for the demise of the herring fishery. Overfishing or other ecosystem shifts, such as an increase in disease or decline in available food sources for the fish, may have contributed.

Via Nature News
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