The hull of the ruptured Exxon Valdez oil tanker began spewing millions of gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska on March 4, 1989.
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This was the scene on shoreline rimming Prince William Sound immediately after the spill. Even today, oil residue can be found under rocks.
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One of the many casualties. A chronicle of the Valdez disaster is poignantly told in Dr. Riki Ott's book, "Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Spill."
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A clean-up worker holds up a dead otter that perished during the Valdez spill in Prince William Sound.
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The scene of British Petroleum's disabled Deepwater Horizon drilling platform on April 20, 2010.
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Never Here: A Coastal Artist Remembers March 24, 1989 Exxon Valdez And April 20, 2010 Gulf Spill

Naturalist Tony Angell Revisits His Fear Of The Possible 'Black Tides'

Written By Tony Angell (Author's Bio)

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By Tony Angell

March 24, 1989: I was here at home, at Lopez Island near Seattle, on that date and like most people had no idea of the full extent of the Exxon Valdez disaster until months, years, if not now decades later. Visiting the area for a few weeks in the early 1990s as part of the Artists For Nature Foundation expedition of artists to the Alaskan fishing village of Cordova, I got some sense of the displacement of life that occurred as the vast feeding areas for sea otter in Prince William Sound were dead zones.

Many of the otters had migrated southward to Cordova so my kayak trips across Orca Inlet were often surrounded by pods of otter, the total numbers of which were over a thousand. It was shocking to witness the small rafts of thin and starving female otters floating together as they struggled to nurse their youngsters. Their numbers had overwhelmed the feeding area there and both the resident animals and those of Prince William Sound were suffering the consequence.



Oil-soaked duck in Prince William Sound


It wasn't just the oiling of the animals that was killing the birds and mammals but the poisoning of the entire system had rendered the region devoid of invertebrates. Without this fundamental food base the shell fish and fish that sustained the otter were absent.  I was then struck by the comparisons with Puget Sound and, more recently,...

Additional Article Information:

· Article is 795 words long (250 are displayed in this preview).

Author: Tony Angell

Editor's Comments:

'After the Exxon Valez disaster in Prince William Sound, other coastal communities vowed "Never Here."  Artistist-naturalist Tony Angell reflects on the trauma still gripping the Gulf of Mexico, even more epically than the ecological harm visited upon Alaska.  Angell saw Prince William Sound first hand as part of an expedition organized by the Artists for Nature Foundation. '

Research tags: wildlife art, tony angel, bp oil spill, prince william sound, exxon valdez, orca inlet, kent ullberg, puget sound, wildlife art, wildlife art journal, wildlifeartjournal.com, wildlife art journal magazine,

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