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LIVE INTERACTIVE LEARNING @ YOUR DESKTOP. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: What can we learn from this disaster? Presented by: Audra Livergood, Will Underwood and Atziri Ibanez . February 2, 2011 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. Agenda:. Introductions Tech-help info

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The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: What can we learn from this disaster?

Presented by: Audra Livergood, Will Underwood

and Atziri Ibanez

February 2, 2011

6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Eastern time


  • Introductions

  • Tech-help info

  • Web Seminar tools

  • Presentation

  • Evaluation

  • Chat with the presenter(s)


Supporting the Presenting Team is…

Jeff LaymanTech Support [email protected]

For additional Tech-help call:

Elluminate Support,

1-866-388-8674 (Option 2)

Elluminate Screenshot


We would like to know more about you…

Poll #1

How many NSTA web seminars have you attended?

  • 1-3

  • 4-5

  • More than 5

  • More than 10

  • This is my first web seminar

Use the letters A-E located at the bottom right of the participant window to answer the poll.

Poll #1

How many NSTA web seminars have you attended?

  • 1-3

  • 4-5

  • More than 5

  • More than 10

  • This is my first NSTA web seminar

Where are you now?

Poll #2

What grade level do you teach?

  • Elementary School, K-5

  • Middle School, 6-8

  • High School, 9-12

  • I teach college students

  • I am an Informal Educator


The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: What can we learn from this disaster?

Presented by: Audra Livergood, Will Underwood

and Atziri Ibanez

February 2, 2011

6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Eastern time

Your Presenters


NERRS National Education Coordinator

Audra Livergood, Marine Resource Manager, NOAA Fisheries

Will Underwood, Stewardship Coordinator, Grand Bay NERR

What is an estuary? What are some examples of estuaries along the Gulf Coast?


Poll Question

What is an estuary?

  • The land area that drains water into a lake, river, or pond.

  • The area where a river meets the ocean, where fresh and salt water mix.

  • The large body of salt water that covers most of the earth's surface.

  • The underground system that provides drinking water to an area.

Deepwater Horizon oil spill

On Tuesday, April 20, 2010 an explosion rocked the oil drilling platform.

Five key estuaries in danger of being impacted by the oil spill


Mission Aransas NERR (Texas)


  • Has the only naturally migrating population of whooping cranes in the world

  • Total Acreage: 185,708

  • Designation: 2006

Weeks Bay NERR (Alabama)

  • Weeks Bay NERR

  • Provide habitat for rare and endangered species including the brown pelican, eastern indigo snake, and the Alabama red-bellied turtle.

  • Total Acreage: 6,525

  • Designation: 1986

Apalachicola NERR (Florida)

  • Apalachicola NERR

  • The West Indian manatee, the Indiana bat and the gray bat are endangered species that make their home at the Reserve

  • Total Acreage: 246,000

  • Designation: 1979

Rookery Bay NERR (Florida)

  • Rookery Bay NERR

  • Is a prime example of a nearly pristine subtropical mangrove forested estuary

  • Total Acreage: 110,000

  • Designation: 1978


How many class or activity periods of estuary instruction do your students receive in a typical school year?

[Place clip art on the continuum below]

More than 15 classes per year

6 to 15 classes per year

3 to 5 classes per year

1 to 2 classes per year


Resources 1

  • Your Source for Learning and Teaching About Estuaries

  • Video Gallery

  • Estuaries 101 Curriculum

  • Access to real-time data with graphing capabilities

  • Species Factsheets

Let’s pause for questions

Where and what is the Grand Bay Reserve?


About Grand Bay NERR (MS)

Approximately 18,000 acres (28 sq. mi.) of emergent marsh, pine flatwoods, and pine savannas

Established in 1999

Represents the Louisianian bio-geographic region

Grand Bay is located in the Northern Gulf of Mexico to the east of the Mississippi river

The drilling site was approximately 150 miles SSW of the Grand Bay NERR

Mobile delta area often influence the waters of the Grand Bay NERR

Grand Bay Reserve boundary

Bayou Heron

Bayou Cumbest

How were the Grand Bay marshes formed?

Where rivers meet the sea?

Currently little freshwater input from uplands

Pre-historic origin of marshes formed by Pascagoula and Escatawpa Rivers

What makes Grand Bay important?

Marshes serve as nursery ground

Provides protection from dangerous storm surge

Marshes filter nutrients

Commercial and recreational fishing

Outdoor recreation

Natural & Anthropogenic Stressors



Invasive species

Loss of sediments through dredging

Decreased air and water quality

Industrial disasters

Overharvest of fishery

Mississippi Phosphates Spill

Estuaries 101 Curriculum

What can we learn from ongoing monitoring at the Grand Bay Reserve?


System-Wide Monitoring Program

Observing short-term variability and long-term changes in estuarine environments

I. Abiotic Monitoring

Water Quality & Nutrients

Weather Parameters

II. Biological Monitoring

Habitat Change


III. Land Cover/Use and Habitat Change

Spatial Patterns

Human Impacts

Monitoring Water Quality & Weather Data

SWMP Data-logger

Water quality data is collected at 15 or 30 minute intervals at 4 locations within or adjacent to a research reserve.

Weather data is collected within or adjacent to a research reserve at 5 second intervals.

Mapping, Monitoring, Research

Critical for protection of natural resource

Primary responsibility of research and stewardship staff in the reserve system

Provides baseline information important in assessing damage from disasters

Fine-Scale Marsh Habitat Delineation

Sea Grass Communities at GBNERR


Resources 2

  • Data in the Classroom

  • Three curriculum modules: El Nino, Sea Level & Water Quality

  • Grades 6-8

  • Downloadable materials

  • Correlated to National Standards in Science, Mathematics , Geography & the Ocean Literacy Concepts

Let’s pause for questions

How did the oil spill and the response effect the Grand Bay Reserve?


Sequence of Events

Rig explosion, 4/20

Booming initiated, 5/4

1st rig debris/tarballs, 6/4

1st oil at reserve, 6/12

Temporary cap installed, 7/15

Targeted boom removal, 8/31

Response ongoing

Plan for the Worst

Identify Critical Resources

Review Existing Response Plans

Prioritize Critical Areas…Limited Response Resource

Identify Areas Sensitive to Response Damage

Learn and Adapt to Incident Command System

Begin Collecting Baseline Samples

Provide Site Specific Technical Support

Contingency Plan outlines booming needed

Extensive pre-oil samples were collected

Poll Question

Based on their research, scientists have learned that it is always preferable to clean up an oiled salt marsh as opposed to simply leaving it alone to recover naturally.

A True

B False

Installing booming is a delicate process in shallow waters

Airboats were used to install boom

Three types of boom were installed

Pom-pom boom

Hard boom

Waiting for the Worst

Signs of the spill on GBNERR appeared as debris

Dispersed oil at GBNERR

Oiled boom at GBNERR

Large patches of oil were stranded on the GBNERR marshes

Storm events had a damaging effect on boom

Understanding key features of an estuary – key to protecting it

Poll Question

Which of the following factors may help the Gulf of Mexico to recover from the BP oil spill more quickly than did Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez spill?

[Place clip art on your selection above]

What is NRDA? – Natural Resource Damage Assessment

A legal process to determine - Injuries to or lost use of the public’s natural resources- Appropriate amount & type of restoration needed to offset losses

NERR staff involved in technical working groups

How do we clean up oil at Grand Bay?

In most cases, clean up is not recommended in Juncus marshes

Mechanical cleanup methods might harm sensitive habitats

Environmental stewardship

Important concept for students to understand and practice

Opportunities for Restoration

Long-Term Monitoring

Continue shoreline assessment work to look for stranded oil

PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) sediment testing

Continue monitoring natural resources

Analyze trends in resource abundance

Take Home Message


Estuaries can serve as the nexus for teaching earth, life, and physical sciences

Extensive research, mapping, and monitoring are necessary to analyze short and long-term changes/impacts from the oil spill

Applying lessons learned, in terms of planning and response to past oil spills, can help better prepare our future leaders

Understanding the impacts of the oil spill is a continuous process that will require direct observation and analysis of key archived and real-time data

Let’s pause for questions

Where can I find educational resources about estuaries and the oil spill?


Teacher Professional Development Opportunities

  • Visit the Estuaries.Gov site to find teacher training opportunities

  • Sign-Up to receive the NERRS Education BulletinWe will announce upcoming opportunities

  • Help Field Test the Estuaries 101 Middle Grade CurriculumAt the end of 2011 we will form a team of reviewers who will test the activities

Resources 3

  • Oil Spill Educational Resources

  • Multimedia

  • Animation

  • Lessons and Activities

  • Real World Data

  • Background Information

  • Career Profiles

NOAA Oil Spill Resources

Teaching Resources About Estuaries


NOAA Deepwater Horizon Archive

NOAA Oil Spill Educational Resources

Quiz: Prince William's Oily Mess: A Tale of Recovery

Exploring the Gulf of Mexico's Deep-Sea Ecosystems Education Materials Collection

NOAA Office of Response & Restoration (activities for the classroom0

List of “Other” Oil Spill Resources

COSEE series of PowerPoints and hands-on activities

The Bridge

Oil Spill Impacts on Coastal Wetlands of the Mississippi River Delta

Smithsonian Ocean Portal Oil Spill Page

The Gulf Loop Current Activity

EE Week's Oil Spill Resources offer a webinar on Teaching About the Gulf Oil Spill

Thank you!

For more information:

Re: Estuaries in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System – Contact: Atziri Ibanez ([email protected])

Learn more: NOAA Deepwater Horizon Archive

Thank you to the sponsor of tonight's Web Seminar:

National Science Teachers Association

Dr. Francis Q. Eberle, Executive Director

Zipporah Miller, Associate Executive Director Conferences and Programs

Al Byers, Assistant Executive Director e-Learning

NSTA Web Seminars

Paul Tingler, Director

Jeff Layman, Technical Coordinator


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