MIAMI–(ENEWSPF)–June 21, 2010. The Florida Peninsula Command Post (FPCP) has implemented a “Trigger Response” plan that will provide early, responsible and practical actions to collect oil products offshore and protect sensitive shorelines and natural resources if weathered Deepwater Horizon-related oil products were to approach the Florida Peninsula or Florida Keys. Decisions about how a response will be mounted when a trigger point is reached are contained in the plan.
The FPCP is using scientific data, along with actual observations from daily aerial and surface surveillance to assess and, if necessary, implement the appropriate response actions. The scientific data is provided by a NOAA led Scientific Support Team that is continuously tracking the movement of the oil spill with surface and aerial-based monitoring, ocean current modeling and weather forecasts. NOAA is using computer modeling to estimate the spill’s future movements and projected shoreline impacts, if any, based on predicted and observed meteorological and oceanographic conditions. The FPCP continues to monitor for signs of weathered-oil encroachment through various resources including the Sentry program and is coordinating surveillance efforts with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The plan, known as the “Trigger Response” plan is based on three phases: monitoring, surveying and responding. A response will be triggered during any of these phases should weathered oil products be detected.
* The FPCP is currently in the monitoring phase, indicating that no tar balls or other weathered oil products associated with the Deepwater Horizon have been located near the protective buffer area. This buffer area is established approximately 94 miles off the coast of the Florida Peninsula and the Keys.
* If NOAA’s remote sensors indicate oil products are encroaching upon this buffer area, the next phase of the plan – the survey phase, will be initiated. The survey phase involves pre-staging appropriate resources into areas with projected or potential impacts.
* If oil products are found within the protective buffer area, the response phase will be initiated. The response phase may consist of offshore, near shore and/or onshore recovery actions.
Resources are presently in place, including Sentry vessels with scientific support aboard, to monitor the Loop Current and eddy. Regular aerial patrols occur over specific regions in the Gulf of Mexico, and an environmental team reviews satellite imagery, ocean currents and other data that helps track weathered oil that could potentially reach the Florida Peninsula coastline.
No oil products from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have impacted the Florida Peninsula or Keys to date. The near-term risk for the Florida Peninsula and Keys continues to remain low.
For additional information, media may contact the FPCP Joint Information Center at 1-888-693-3003.