Exxon Valdez and the Recovery of Prince William Sound Essay

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Exxon Valdez and the Recovery of Prince William Sound Approximately eleven years ago, an area of Alaska's southern coast known as Prince William Sound was a disaster area. A nauseating scent of rotting carcasses and oil filtered through the air. Sea birds screamed in anguish as they fought to survive with oil drenched feathers. Under the surface billions of organisms ceased to live due to the toxicity of the inescapable wrath of the blackened water. Prince William Sound had once been a place of beauty and grace, now it was home to an environmental deathbed. The media broadcast pictures of this nearly unbearable scene throughout the world. Most people, including myself, wondered if the ecological war zone would ever recover…show more content…
Massive cleanup efforts were initiated within a few weeks of the spill and they continued at reduced levels for the next three years. Approximately 14% of the spilled oil was recovered by cleanup crews (Newsweek, p.50). As a result of these efforts and natural weathering, little oil from the spill remained in the affected area by 1992. However, according to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration some oil residues are still found under the ocean surface in areas sheltered from wind and waves. Yet, these residues are highly weathered and the toxicity is reduced to levels tolerable by organisms in the water (7). Nonetheless, the magnitude and timing of the Exxon Valdez oil spill raised immediate concerns about possible effects on marine fish and wildlife and prospects that these effects might be long lasting. Professors John Wiens and David Page spent many years studying theses effects of the oil spill and they presented their findings at the International Oil Spill Conference in Seattle, March 8-11, 1999. Their findings contain the most recent results of the ongoing studies in Prince William Sound. Through extensive work with three different groups of animals affected by the spill, they have exhibited a remarkable recovery by the ecosystem of Prince William Sound (Wiens, Page et al.). The first species the scientists studied is pink
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