Walton County prepares for potential impact of oil spill

April 30, 2010

Sheriff Michael Adkinson addresses the public on April 30. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

County officials asking for citizen volunteers

Walton County officials held an emergency public forum April 30 to inform the public of their preparation plans for potential oil spill reaching South Walton’s beaches.

On April 20, 2010 an explosion occurred on the mobile oil drilling platform Deepwater Horizon approximately 50 miles southeast of Venice, La. The fire damaged rig capsized and sank after burning for hours on April 22. The pipeline continues to spill more than 210,000 gallons of crude oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico since the explosion.

Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Walton County Emergency Management Chief Mike Barker, South Walton Fire District Chief Rick Talbert, Walton County interim Administrator Lyle Seigler and Walton County Health Department Administrator Gail Allen were present to answer questions regarding the County’s preparedness for the emergency.

The county has been in contact and is working with State and federal agencies in preparing Walton County for the potential disastrous effects the oil could have in our area.

On April 30, Governor Charlie Crist issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency. Click here for document:  Emergency Deepwater Horizon

A packed house of concerned citizens at the Sandestin Emerald Grand Ballroom April 30. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The County is preparing for the beach impact and will, if needed, have stockpiles of sand staged at beach accesses to replace sand that may become contaminated. If beach restoration efforts are needed, the County will have the beaches off limits while working equipment during the restoration.

The SWFD lifeguards have also gone through training and will be on the watch for shoreline impact.

The Walton County Sheriff’s website: http://www.waltonso.org/ will have up to date information available for the public relating to the oil spill.

The County is also asking for the public’s help if needed. You can call the Walton County Hotline: 850-267-2000 and give your name and contact information if you are available to assist if needed. Download a volunteer application here: http://www.waltonso.org/WCSO-Oil-Volunteer-App.pdf

Helpful phone numbers:
Walton County Hotline: 850-267-2000 for up to date information

BP Response team:

Joint Information call 985-902-5231

To discuss spill related damage claims such as docks, boats, property call 1-800-440-0858.
To report oil on land, or for general community and volunteer information, the Walton hotline at 850-267-2000.

Wildlife rescue:

To report oiled or injured wildlife, please call 1-800-557-1401. Do not attempt to rescue any injured wildlife as the crude oil is toxic and additional stress can create more damage.

There are agencies contracted to help the injured wildlife. Tri-State, along with a team from IBRRC (both internationally known oiled wildlife response teams) will be coordinating primarily the bird rescue and rehab efforts. Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge is a stranding team on standby with NOAA for marine mammal and sea turtle response in our area and may be called west. For more information on Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, go to: ecwildliferefuge.com.

For more information on Tri-State, go to www.tristatebird.org

Help Florida Audubon’s rescue efforts:

To volunteer with Audubon:

Additional information:

To view the Coast Guard Sector Mobile Area Contingency Plan:
For interagency updates:  www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com
For satellite imagry of the spill-  www.skytruth.org
U. of S. Fl. tracking info:  http://optics.marine.usf.edu/events/GOM_rigfire

    1. Will bring the kids and help clean the shores, load bags and rescue wildlife…
      keep us informed on how to assist!

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