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I’m biting my nails, hoping the engineers and responders will be able to “cap” the largest leak on the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The first attempt failed due to a buildup of ice crystals that clogged the cap and made it buoyant.

According to the official site for the emergency responders, engineers may have found a fix for the problem using methanol injection to stop hydrate formation.

Be sure to check out the official site–it’s a wealth of information, including ways to volunteer. The scope and cost of this disaster, along with its response is mind-boggling.  The  effort includes government agencies from EPA to NOAA to NASA,  top scientists and engineers, fisheries experts, and numerous volunteers. Fourteen staging areas are already in place to protect the shoreline.

I have to admit that before the Deepwater Horizon’s explosion and subsequent gusher, I was a staunch proponent of more drilling in the Gulf. I still believe that Americans need to allow more drilling and reduce our dependency on other countries for our energy supplies. But the impending doom foretold in each day’s news reports make it evident that we need a major upgrade to the engineering controls that prevent such a calamity.

As the oil slick creeps ever closer to the shore, the Joint Investigation initiates the finger-pointing stage of the crisis. Understandably so, as the cost will ultimately be in the billions of dollars, not to mention the bad PR that ecological destruction will bring. Let’s all hope the latest fix will work, and quickly.

Energy supplies are vital, but we should be able to provide power without trashing our environment.

Yellowtail snapper

Yellowtail snapper

Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse environments in the world. Reefs provide millions of people with food, tourist dollars, and new medications. And in many instances, they protect coastlines from storm damage.

But reefs are very vulnerable. The corals, plants, fish and invertebrates of the reef systems are easily damaged by pollution, anchor dragging, and ship groundings such as that of the Clipper Lasco. This 645-foot cargo ship left a 20 X 100 foot gash in the reef off Ft. Lauderdale’s coast.

What I learned from my current client, Live Rock, Inc. is that reefs can be restored. It doesn’t happen overnight, but live rock–base rock cultured in Aquaculture or Mariculture sites to promote biological growth–can be transplanted to damaged reefs. Live corals can also be transplanted in some cases.

While not the ultimate solution to damaged reefs (which would be to prevent damage in the first place), it’s encouraging to know that it’s possible to rehabilitate these invaluable ecosystems. Thanks to the scientists and divers like Gary Levine for finding ways to keep our reefs alive.

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