Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike's effect on wildlife habitat

From the Associated Press via the Beaumont Enterprise:

DALLAS (AP) -- An official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday the tidal surge from Hurricane Ike has left a "sheen" of oil on a southeast Texas wildlife refuge, potentially endangering rare species of birds and other animals.

Tim Cooper, project leader for the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, said oil apparently leaking from ruptured drilling equipment has affected a large area of the 55,000-acre preserve.

Cooper, who manages four refuge sites in the area, said a lesser amount oil has flowed into the nearby Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.

Both preserves are near the Bolivar Peninsula, which was practically wiped clean when Ike roared ashore with winds of 110 mph early Saturday morning.

The U.S. Geological Survey posted pre-Ike and post-Ike photographs of Bolivar Peninsula. What an incredible scouring the land endured.

Various national wildlife refuges in southwest Louisiana have been closed due to Ike damage. These include Sabine, Lacassine, Cameron Prairie and Shell Keys refuges. Updates about their status should be available from Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex Office at 337-598-2216.

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