Saturday, 26 June 2010 16:58
Written by Sandi Kemp
NavarreBeach and Santa Rosa’s entire coastline is open for swimming and fishing.Two links to live Web cams on NavarreBeach are available at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill.
Bales of hay were found on NavarreBeach today. Florida Department of Environmental Protection does not allow the installation of hay bales, temporary sandbags or other similar materials to prevent oil contamination along shorelines of sandy beaches, as they can complicate cleanup efforts and could cause serious long-term damage.
Today, June 26, no tar balls or other oil product was found on NavarreBeach. No tar balls have been found on the beach since June 21, when sporadic tar balls were found.
County staff and reconnaissance teams have investigated multiple reports today and in the last ten days of slicks, sheens, patches and streamers that are visible from the I10 Bridge and orange foam on the coast line of BlackwaterBay. To date there is no oil product in this area, but the material found has been tidal foam, seaweed, debris in the tide lines, phytoplankton, fish or other natural and organic material that is often present in the inland waterways this time of the year or associated with the dredging that is currently taking place at the mouth of Mulat Bayou near the Archie Glover Boat Ramp. All reports continue to be investigated.
Multiple reports of tar balls and other oil product have been confirmed just inside the PensacolaPass with crews responding.
Florida currently has five state-leased skimmers operating in Northwest Florida. The skimmers are working at the passes in Escambia, Okaloosa, Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties to protect sensitive inland water bodies.
Unified command reports there are 10 vessel of opportunity skimmers deployed to the PensacolaPass.
According to the NOAA oil plume model, the oil plume is 11 miles from Pensacola, 55 miles from MexicoBeach and 250 miles from St. Petersburg. Winds and currents will prevent a further eastward movement of the oil plume along the Northwestern Florida Coastline. However, areas already impacted across the western panhandle, mainly along and west of the ChoctawhatcheeBay, will continue to receive impacts as the oil plume moves slightly northwest and closer to shore across these areas.
A slight change in winds and currents has minimized the potential for oil impacts to continue moving east. Impacts in the already affected areas in Northwest Florida will continue within the next 72 hours.
The majority of impacts to Florida’s shoreline will likely be highly weathered, in the form of tar balls, oil sheen, tar mats or mousse – a pudding-like oil/water mixture that could be brown, rust or orange in color.
Tropical Depression #1, which formed at Friday, has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Alex. The system is approximately 566 miles south of Key West, or approximately 848 miles south-southeast of the Deepwater Horizon well head site. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph. A general northwest track across the YucatanPeninsula and then toward the Texas/Mexico border is forecasted. Hurricane hunter aircraft is investigating the system again this afternoon.
Current oil spill conditions are available online through the State Emergency Response Team GATOR map at http://map.floridadisaster.org/GATOR/. The map provides real time alerts, information and gives updates on oil on Florida’s coastline. The SERT Gator map encompasses the entire Gulf coast and is color coded. Green circles are used for routine recon reports, orange for priority recon reports and red for emergency recon reports.
In order to expedite responses to oiled wildlife, please contact the oiled wildlife hotline at 1-866-557-1401 if oiled wildlife is spotted. Qualified personnel will respond to the report. Please do not touch or try and clean oiled wildlife.
Citizens are asked not to have direct contact with oil and oil contaminated products such as tar balls, tar patties, tar mats, and oil sheen. Only qualified members should handle oil products and oil contaminated materials. To report tar or oil on the beach, call the Florida State Warning Point Line at 1-877-272-8335 or # DEP from a cell phone.
Skimming and recreational vessel decontamination facilities are being established across the panhandle. The current list of vessel decontamination locations within the U.S. Coast Guard Mobile Sector for oiled boats is available at http://bpdecon.com.
BP reports that as of June 24, there are 442 trained Santa Rosa County Qualified Community Responders. Learn more about qualified community responders at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill, under the “Fact Sheets and Q & A” heading.
Reconnaissance missions are being coordinated daily from the StateEmergencyOperationsCenter in Tallahassee using air, land, and sea assets from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Civil Air Patrol, and the Florida National Guard.
·Secretary Sole signed an emergency order authorizing the burning of product off shore in Florida waters. The county will notify residents before the burning starts.
Dispersants in Florida waters have been approved.
·PerdidoPass, PensacolaPass and Bayou Texar are navigationally restricted during flood (incoming) tide and reopen during ebb (outgoing) tide as water flows out to the gulf. They are manned to allow access to necessary vessel traffic. Boaters in areas where skimming is being conducted, or where boom has been set, have been requested to maintain no-wake speeds.
·The Gulf Oil Economic Recovery Task Force will meet on June 30 at the University of West Florida Conference Center Building 22 located at 11000 University Parkway in Pensacola from to The general public is encouraged to attend and observe. Individuals wishing to make a public comment at the meeting will need to register with the task force staff on-site the day of the meeting. For more information and to watch the meeting live via web cast visit http://www.flgov.com/gulfrecoverytaskforce
BP’s contractor, Waste Management, has begun placing hand washing stations at the public beach walkovers on NavarreBeach.
·The complex nature of oil cleanup, coupled with health and safety concerns, limits the role of volunteers. Our area is not only being affected environmentally, but also by the loss of jobs connected to the tourism and fishing industries, leaving residents impacted or displaced economically and emotionally. Human service organizations, including nonprofits and faith based organizations, will need greater volunteer support in order to provide service to our impacted residents.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities in our area, please contact the Santa RosaCountyVolunteerReceptionCenter operated through Help Thy Neighbors at (850) 983-5223.
·Citizens are also asked to help spread the word that our beaches are open and encourage friends and family to visit our area to help minimize the economic impacts by visiting our restaurants, attractions, parks, hotels and condominiums.
June 24 water quality testing performed by the University of West Florida showed no dissolved petroleum hydrocarbons at Navarre Beach Pier.
Health officials have provided the following guidance for coping with the stress, anxiety and depression that may be brought on by the oil spill:
o Reacting to a Traumatic Event- After surviving a disaster, individuals may feel dazed or even numb. They may also feel sad, helpless, or anxious. In spite of the tragedy, some people just feel happy to be alive. These are all normal reactions to the stress of a crisis.
o Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that moves us to action when we have been wronged or victimized. The gulf animals and community are being victimized by the oil spill. Significant anger regarding the events is normal. Properly directed this anger can provide energy for recovery. Improperly directed it is destructive, divisive and damaging.
Direct anger into community involvement and help. Individuals can focus their energies on helping friends, family, community and those whose livelihoods have been affected by the oil spill.
Be mindful of displacing/directing anger at those close to us such as our children, spouses, family, etc.
Be mindful that even those who disagree with us about the crisis are likely hurting too.
Be part of the solution, not the problem.
o Protect Yourself - Just as individuals would protect themselves from the flu with a flu vaccination, these are steps that can be taken to lessen the impact of stress from the oil spill.
Limit exposure to unsettling information (turn off the T.V.)
Spend time with family.
Go to church, synagogue or mosque.
Develop a routine of exercise and healthy living.
o Ask for Help- Untreated anxiety and depression, substance abuse, and isolation or lack of a support system may put individuals at greater risk of mental health impacts from the oil spill. It is important for individuals to ask for help if they:
Find that they are unable to take care of themselves or their children.
Are not able to do their job.
Use alcohol or drugs to get away from their problems.
Feel sad or depressed for more than two weeks.
Think about suicide. In this case, individuals should talk to a counselor, their physician, a community mental health organization such as LakeviewCenter, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK).
o Children (and Adults also)- It is important that parents help their children cope by using these measures (which can also be helpful tips for adults):
Validate what children are seeing and hearing -- oil is a real problem.
Provide hope. Explain to children that lots of people are involved in cleaning the beaches and fixing the problem. Explain that your children will be able to go to the beach again.
Remember that children absorb what’s around them. Be a positive, healthy stimulus by increasing your own resiliency to the situation.
Give children an active role so they feel they can contribute to the beach getting better. For example, children might donate allowance money to a clean-up effort, keep their own rooms clean or spend time with friends who are also missing the beach.
Do not take children to the beach to actually clean oil.
o Mental Health Services: Santa RosaCounty-AvalonCenter of Lakeview (850) 437-890, Escambia County-Lakeview Center (850) 432-1222, Lakeview’s 24-hour Crisis Line (850) 438-1617
The Air Quality Index for Thursday, June 24, was “Good” for ozone and fine particulate concentrations in the panhandle. The air quality for Friday, June 25, is expected to be “Good” for Florida and Mississippi coastal areas. Ozone and particle data are consistent with typical values that occur during this time of year and no obvious influence due to the oil spill is evident.
An online mental health survey for residents is being conducted to gather information on the effect of Deepwater Horizon incident on mental health at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill, under What’s Hot. The survey will be available until the oil incident is resolved. For questions contact Daniel Hahn at (850) 983-4606 or
The tar balls that are found resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill pose no different health risk than tar balls that are commonly found on Florida beaches. The Department of Health and DEP are closely monitoring health and environmental impacts to Florida’s beaches and will notice an advisory if conditions become unsafe.
o For most people, an occasional brief contact with a small amount of tar balls, while not recommended, will do no harm. However, some people are especially sensitive to chemicals, including the hydrocarbons found in crude oil and petroleum products. They may have an allergic reaction or develop rashes even from brief contact with oil. If contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water, baby oil, or a widely used, safe cleaning compound such as the cleaning paste sold at auto parts stores. Avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, or similar products on the skin. These products, when applied to skin, present a greater health hazard than the smeared tarball itself.
Santa RosaCounty Actions
·The Santa RosaCounty water reconnaissance teams continue to survey water and boom conditions daily, weather permitting, providing real time information on oil products including photos and GPS coordinates.
·Since the county teams have begun surveying conditions, they have found and reported oil product in the water that was not visible by air reconnaissance.
·County staff and reconnaissance teams continue to monitor beach conditions daily generally from day break until
·Staff continue to monitor cleanup and skimming operations performed by crews under the direction of unified command.
Santa RosaCounty and the City of Gulf Breeze held a press conference on June 25 at Shoreline Park South to discuss the Deepwater Oil response assets in our area. You can view the press conference at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill under “What’s Hot.”
Commission Chair Gordon Goodin and county staff met with two White House staff members on June 25 to discuss issues with the Deepwater Horizon response in Santa RosaCounty.
On June 2, the EOC returned to a level 2, or partial activation with essential staff, from until further notice. The Santa Rosa County Citizen Information Line at (850) 983-INFO or 4636 is open 24 hours daily.
Santa RosaCounty and the State of Florida continue to make preparations to safeguard the state’s shoreline.
Oil containment boom (in feet) total in Florida: 597,961
o Tier 1: 238,800 / Tier 2: 132,800
o Tier 3: 226,361 ( deployed by Florida contractors)
The city of Gulf Breeze began closing booms, closing access to bayous this morning, June 24 at They will remain closed until further notice.
Approximately 367,600 feet of boom has been placed in Northwest Florida along the most sensitive areas and 176,300 feet has been staged.
Santa Rosa County’s approved additional boom locations and the location of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Contingency booms are posted at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill, shown as a blue cross on the map (some locations have two crosses to show point to point locations).
·Booms located in Santa Rosa that have been left open for navigation to date, may begin to close this week. Boaters in these areas should monitor the local media or www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill for the latest on boom closures.
·Boaters in areas where skimming is being conducted, or where boom has been set, have been requested to maintain no-wake speeds.
The FDEP Emergency Order that waives obtaining a permit for booms and protective measure is only for government and approved contractors. Businesses, condo owners or private citizens must still get a permit. All berms must be permitted.
Residents are asked to stay clear of boom on beaches and in open water. Boom has been placed to protect environmentally sensitive and strategic areas and damaging or removing the boom puts those areas at risk. Crossing boom can cause serious damage to vessels.
Spill responders are asking for the public’s help in monitoring boom along the GulfCoast. Boaters are requested to report sightings of broken, disconnected, or adrift boom; and encouraged to keep their distance from boom especially at night and in conditions of restricted visibility. Report damaged, vandalized, adrift, or stolen boom to 1-866-448-5816.
A BP Community Outreach Center has been opened in Gulf Breeze at:
o 1198 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., Ste. 6, Gulf BreezeFL32561
o Phone (850) 691-9116
To serve the residents of Santa RosaCounty, BP opened a claims office in Midway on Friday, May 14. The office is located at 5668 Gulf Breeze Parkway Unit B-9 in Gulf Breeze. Hours of operation will be , seven days a week, until further notice.
o To help expedite a claims visit, call 1-800-440-0858 or start a claim at www.bp.com/claims before visiting the claims center, so adjusters at the claims office will have the information prior to your visit.
o BP claims in Florida total 20,932 with approximately $ 18,241,105.61 paid.
o BP claims in Santa RosaCounty total 2,141 with approximately $2,009,878 paid.
Small Business Disaster & Bridge Loans
Governor Charlie Crist activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which will provide emergency, short-term loans to established small businesses in the designated counties. Applications for businesses are available. To receive an application or more information on the program, please contact the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development at (850) 487-2568, the Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (http://www.ffcfc.com) at (850) 681-3601, or TEAMSanta Rosa at (850) 623-0174. More information has also been posted at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill under the Business Information heading.
o Loan Applications
Loan amount approved: $778,900.00
SBA representatives opened a disaster loan office at the NavarreVisitorInformationCenter located at 8543 Navarre Parkway (U.S. Hwy 98) in Navarre. Hours of operations will be Monday- Saturday until Saturday, June 26; when the days of operation will change to Monday-Friday. The office will be closed on Monday, July 5 in observance of Independence Day. More information can be found at: www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/SERV_DISASTERASSISTANCEGOV.html
Vessels of Opportunity (Boats) Program
BP is looking to contract shrimp boats, oyster boats and other vessels for hire through the Vessel of Opportunities Program to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. For more information (866) 279-7983 or (877) 847-7470.
387 vessels have been deployed in Florida for the Vessels of Opportunity program.
On June 23, NOAA modified the commercial and recreational fishing closure in the oil-affected portions of the Gulf of Mexico. The closure measures 78,597 sq mi (203,564 sq km) and covers about 33 percent of the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone. The majority of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are open to commercial and recreational fishing. For more information, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/deepwater_horizon_oil_spill.htm.
All Santa RosaCounty waters are currently open to fishing. Oil has not affected most of Florida waters and there are vast amounts open for fishing and other recreational activities and the FWC encourages everyone to fish where the waters are clear and to enjoy freshly harvested seafood products in these areas. Updated information regarding fishing advisories or harvest closures in Florida due to the BP oil spill will be posted online at http://myfwc.com/OilSpill/index.htm.
The FWC is taking precautionary actions and has issued a partial harvesting closure of saltwater fish and marine vertebrates. This closure covers state waters from the Alabama state line east to the PensacolaBeach tower (approximately 23 miles east and out nine miles from the coastline. Interior bays and estuaries remain open to fishing. The closure does not affect oysters, clams and scallops. Catch and release is still allowed. For more information visit http://myfwc.com/OilSpill/index.htm.
The FWC & NOAA Fisheries Service strongly advises fishermen not to fish in areas where oil or oil sheens (very thin layers of floating oil) are present, even if those areas are not currently closed to fishing. Details can be found at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/
Important Phone Numbers
Florida Oil Spill Information Lineis-available from daily for citizen’s questions.- 1-888- 337-3569
Fraud Hotline- 1-866-966-7226.
Submit Alternative Response Technology, or to Register as a Consultant, Contractor, or Vender of Services & Products- email
or call 1-281-366-5511
Report Oiled Wildlife- 1-866-557-1401
Report Oiled Shoreline to State Warning Point- 1-877-2-SAVE-FL (1-877-272-8335) or #DEP from a cell phone
To Report Oiled Shoreline to BP- 877-389-8932
BP Toll-Free Claims line- 1800-440-0858
BP’s Community Information line- 1-866-448-5816
Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner gas price-gauging hotline: 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352).