As the oil spill crisis continues off the coast of Louisiana, Florida residents need to prepare for the potential impact the disaster could have on our state.
I have put together a list of facts and resources that all of us should be aware of. As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I am committed to keeping my clients and their social network informed on important issues like this.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicated that weathered oil from the leading edge of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill might have reached the Florida Panhandle as early as last week due to a shift in winds and currents. Any impact to Florida's shoreline will likely be highly weathered—tar balls, oil sheen, tar mats or “mousse,” a pudding-like oil/water mixture that could be brown, rust or orange in color.
- For an update, visit the NOAA website at: http://www.noaa.gov
State and Federal Resource
- If you spot oil on Florida's coastline report it to the State Warning Point at 1 (877) 2- SAVE-FL (1-877-272-8335) or dial #DEP from most cell phones.
- Florida Governor Charlie Crist has issued three Executive Orders since April 30, 2010, declaring a state of emergency in 26 coastal counties that may see impacts. To read the Executive Orders, visit: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/default.htm#auth
- BP has opened claims offices in Florida. Visit the BP Claims Page for addresses, phone numbers and to learn more: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/claims.htm
There are no indications of any health risks due to the oil spill so far. The Department of Health and DEP are monitoring health and environmental impacts to Florida's beaches and will notice an advisory if conditions become unsafe. To read more about the possible health effects from oil, go to (PDF): http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files/faq_doh_051010.pdf
Seafood and Wildlife
NOAA extended the boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to the state water line in Alabama and the western tip of Florida's Panhandle. The federal closure does not currently apply to any of Florida's waters, and it's called a precautionary measure. For the latest update, check the Deepwater Horizon website at: http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com
. Report oiled wildlife to the Wildlife Distress Hotline at (866) 557-1401.
The state has offered suggestions to coastal homeowners on what is allowed and what to avoid in terms of protecting their property. See the following (PDF) file for more details: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files/protect_shoreline_tips.pdf
The Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is encouraging Floridians and visitors to become a Coast Watch volunteer. To help or to get more information about scheduled beach cleanups and other volunteer opportunities visit: www.volunteerfloridadisaster.org
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