I am concerned about this oil spill, from the point of view of waterfowl and waterbirds. This situation has the potential to affect the waterfowl populations when the migrations starts. Six month are not enough to clean and restore the wetlands that are being affected by the oil. The oil not only affects the plant communities, also all other creatures that lives or depends of the marshes, like invertebrates and fishes, to name a few. Waterfowl not only feeds on plants, they also consume invertebrates as a source of protein. Add to that the direct effects on birds, when they all become soaked with oil, affecting their thermoregulation and poisoning because of ingestion.
The oil spill has already created effects on the human schale. Not only because of the death of the workers at the oil rig, also the livelihood of thousands of people. I believe that this will also have an effect on waterfowl hunters for the upcoming seasons, speciffically for the Mississippi Flyway. The Flyway Council is about to stablish the hunting regulations (i.e. bag limits) for migratoy birds for the states belonging to the four major Migration Flyways. Each Migration Flyway has their regulations and bag limits and so and so. If the situation keeps getting worse, I believe the Mississippi Flyway Council will adopt a more conservative hunting regulations for their flyway, meaning lowering the daily bag limit, shortening the hunting season, and/or specific species limits.
Time will only tell...
If you want to know more about the Gulf Coast Oil Spill effects on coastal marshes visit the Ducks Unlimited website.
Update June 25, 2010:
Why don't they seal the well? Greed?
Image of the oil spill taken by NASA (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=44375)