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Coastal Area Protection Plans (CAPPs)

This article is the first in a series of four. Watch in the coming weeks for more installments.

“We need to put this country’s coastlines and estuaries on the endangered species list,” stated Martha Madden, former Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality secretary, “perhaps, then, coastal protection will become a national priority.” On May 3, 2010, reports from Mississippi indicate that the carcasses of 23 sea turtles washed up on shore and were retrieved for examination by the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport.

“In 1988, I was organizing the beginning of what is now the Barataria-Terrebone National Estuary Program,” Madden continued. Estuary plans have been developed around the country that include identifying problems, designing pollution control, and recommending corrective actions. The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary is home to approximately 735 species of birds, finfish, shellfish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals of which several of these species are either categorized as threatened or endangered. Multiply those numbers by 100 for the entire coast of Louisiana and double and triple the number for the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and the western side of Florida.

Coastal and estuary management plans propose preservation and restoration goals with an objective to a sustainable future in creating clear, fair, practical, and enforceable regulations; developing comprehensive databases with interpreted information for the public; and, meeting water quality standards that protect coastal and estuarine resources and human health. Nothing can disrupt a coastal or estuary management plan like a 5,000 barrel-a-day oil spill.

“What we must have in place immediately, are Coastal Area Protection Plans (CAPPs),” said Madden. There is a lack of consolidated and aggressive oil spill containment strategies that afford certain protection of ecological sanctuaries. Madden is partnering with several response agencies in Louisiana to bring about the development of CAPPs.

Some specific components of a CAPP include but are not limited to:

Identification and summary of all types of crude produced or transported in the Gulf;

Summary of mechanical oil removers;

Summary of chemical oil removers;

Summary of any other response equipment;

Compilation of vendors supplying either mechanical or chemical oil removers;

Summary of weather and current patterns throughout the year;

Partnering with NASA and NOAA for satellite plume detection;

Categorization of oil spills based on number of barrels released;

Development of contract needs based on Category of spills to include fuel, berthing, response equipment, personnel, waste management and other resources;

Summary of controls available on oil rigs and/or ships transporting oil products;

Summary of research (national and international)

This country cannot afford another Valdez. Endangered species, our coast lines and estuaries, require protection today.

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