Updated: Dec. 10,
On April 20, an offshore oil-drilling platform,
Deepwater Horizon, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana.
The rig, owned by Transocean Ltd., was under contract to BP.
Deepwater Horizon is no longer discharging oil into
the Gulf, and the well has been permanently sealed.
BP, the United States Coast Guard and the Minerals
Management Service are the lead response agencies on the oil spill.
For information, please visit www.restorethegulf.gov.
In Florida, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
has been designated the lead state agency for responding to
potential impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill along
Immediately after the Deepwater Horizon rig
exploded, the FWC quickly began coordinating with Florida's
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as well as other
federal, state and local agencies responding to the disaster.
Throughout the response effort, the FWC has contributed scientific
guidance and GIS mapping assistance to decision-makers developing
response and cleanup strategies.
Working with DEP and other responding agencies, the
FWC conducted pre-impact wildlife assessments. These included
collecting water samples and examining sediments, fish and
shellfish along Florida's coastline and into the Gulf of Mexico.
The FWC also evaluated critical habitat, shorebird and sea turtle
nesting areas, as well as other wildlife-related concerns. FWC
staff pursued solutions to challenges facing Florida's fish and
wildlife, ensuring attention was given to issues such as submerged
oil, wildlife response and recovery, and natural resource
protection. The FWC took action with its partners, when it was
necessary, to address concerns regarding potential threats to
Florida's fish and wildlife.
At the height of the oil spill response, staff from
the FWC was involved in locating the presence of oil. The FWC had
scientists aboard vessels offshore and our Division of Law
Enforcement engaged 39 vessels, 3 helicopters and 2 fixed-wing
aircraft to conduct regular reconnaissance flights to monitor
Florida's shoreline for the presence of oil.
The FWC and DEP performed twice-daily beach patrols
for Escambia through Okaloosa counties. Officers on ATVs drove the
beach looking for pollutants on the beach and reported observations
to the Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams (SCAT), which are part of
the Unified Command response.
FWC personnel were on duty at Unified Incident
Command posts in Mobile, Ala., St. Petersburg, Key West and Miami,
as well as at the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee
throughout the various stages of the response effort. Staff from
throughout the agency also worked behind the scenes to coordinate
all activities and communications.
The FWC continues to provide scientific support to
DEP and other agencies, as part of the Unified Command's oil spill
response efforts. The FWC is committed to remaining involved in the
response to ensure a smooth transition to normal operations
regarding fish and wildlife conservation. In addition, the FWC will
continue to be involved in research activities into the future to
further assess potential impacts from the spill.
Top of page
Fishing Closure in Federal Waters -
NOAA Fisheries Service is enacting emergency regulations to close a
portion of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
to all fishing, in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Oil Spill Claims FAQs - Anyone wishing to
contact BP about a claim, including a loss of profits and earning
capacity claim, may review the available information at www.uscg.mil/npfc/Claims or call
Shorebirds - Shorebirds and
seabirds are particularly vulnerable to disturbance during nesting
season. Here are
some guidelines to follow for any beach cleanup during nesting
Sea Turtles - Sea turtles nest
at night on the Gulf coast of Florida from May through August.
Hatching of sea turtle nests also occurs at night from July through
and Volunteer Information
The FWC appreciates the interest expressed by many
in volunteering for wildlife rehabilitation. Tri-State Bird
Rescue and Research and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service are overseeing the wildlife-rehabilitation
response along the Gulf coast. As the number of reports of
oiled wildlife had decreased as of September, the wildlife response
program for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has been phased out in
We appreciate the response of Florida's wildlife
rehabilitation community during the oil spill event. Contact
your local wildlife rehabilitator to learn about their volunteer
needs or to report injured wildlife. You also can report
injured wildlife to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline:
Frequently Asked Questions
The FWC has compiled a list of answers to
questions citizens may have about what they should do to
prepare for or respond to the landfall of oil on Florida
- To report oiled wildlife: 888-404-3922.
- To discuss spill-related damage:
- To report oiled shoreline: 800-320-0519.
- To request volunteer information:
866-448-5816, or visit the Volunteer
FWC Oil Spill Executive Orders