Water Quality, Oil Spill
April 29 2015

Tar Ball Training Session Hosted by Emerald Coast Chapter

by Mara Dias

Five years after the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the Coast Guard and State agencies in Florida and Alabama are scaling way back on their recovery efforts, but the Emerald Coast Chapter continues its grassroots efforts to monitor Northwest Florida beaches for lingering BP oil.  The Chapter has formed an environmental coalition with the US Coast Guard, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and is hosting free public workshops to train members of the public to spot and report BP tar balls, so recovery and clean-up efforts can continue on affected Gulf Beaches. 

The Chapter's efforts have been spearheaded by Susan Forsythe, vice-chair, who has spent 3,000 hours volunteering herself to monitor beaches from Bay County to Baldwin County, Ala., and documenting and reporting tar balls to the National Response Centern since the oil spill occurred five years ago.  Through these coastal monitoring training workshops, the Chapter is empowering local citizens to take action themselves to identify and address continued pollution on the beach from the washed up tar balls.  The Chapter also has extensive resources and contact information on their website to assist the public. 

Check out print media coverage of the coastal monitoring trainings hosted by Surfrider here.