Groundtruthing the Gulf oil spill – with Surfrider, OC and Sky Truth

Ocean Conservancy Teams With Surfrider and Sky Truth to Provide Invaluable Opportunity for Gulf Coast Residents to Assist Oil Spill Cleanup

Groups ask individuals to track and report oil slick as it continues expanding across Gulf of Mexico

Washington, DC – Ocean Conservancy has teamed up with the Surfrider Foundation and Sky Truth to provide Gulf Coast residents concerned about the possible impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil slick on their local beaches and waterfronts with a powerful and convenient online tool for tracking and reporting on oil landfalls.  The Gulf Oil Spill Tracker allows people in communities throughout the region to assist in the monitoring and cleanup of this catastrophe.

By visiting (, individuals can share information and other experiences along the Gulf coast to let officials know when and where oil is hitting the shore and/or affecting wildlife.  Those taking part will also be able to easily upload pictures of the slick or link to relevant news stories.  This accumulated data will provide invaluable information to agency responders and cleanup crews as well as help document the devastating impacts associated with this spill.

“Thousands of Ocean Conservancy members, together with members of the public, are looking for ways to help deal with this oil spill.  Even if we can’t cap it ourselves, that doesn’t mean we are powerless.  State, local, and federal responders can’t be everywhere at once.  What we can do is provide them with the data they need but don’t have access to,” said Matt Tinning, Ocean Conservancy’s Vice President for External Affairs.  “Even if oil has not washed ashore at your local beach yet, pictures will be necessary to document the dramatic changes that may occur.  This is an opportunity to get involved and make a real difference.”

“The Oil Spill Tracker provides a great opportunity for volunteers who don’t want to get hazmat training to help respond to this horrific oil spill,” says Surfrider Foundation’s Environmental Director Chad Nelsen. “The simple act of taking a photo and spending 3 minutes to document oil on the beach can make a huge different in the response and clean up of this mess.”

“Tragic events like this bring out the best in people – they want to help – and SkyTruth empowers concerned citizens to act as environmental witnesses for the places they care about,” commented SkyTruth’s founder and President John Amos.  “With the tools on our Gulf Oil Spill tracker website, Ocean Conservancy and Surfrider members and others who care can provide critical information to help us document the local impacts of the spill.  This ‘ground truth’ is a vital complement to the satellite images of the spill that SkyTruth is generating, and is essential to understanding and illustrating the true implications of this disaster.”

Individuals are advised that they should not attempt to clean oil from beaches, wetlands or wildlife.  Spilled oil is toxic and harmful to humans, and only properly trained responders and volunteers should attempt cleanup efforts.  Visit ( to sign up for updates and find training opportunities near you.

Ocean Conservancy is the world’s foremost advocate for the oceans.  Through science-based advocacy, research, and public education, we inform, inspire and empower people to speak and act for the oceans.  Ocean Conservancy is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices in Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific, with support from more than half a million members and volunteers. To learn more about Ocean Conservancy visit


One Response

  1. Thanks for raising awareness about how we can all pitch in and help with this devastating oil spill. It still stops my heart to think of it, but being paralyzed into complacency is no solution. I appreciate the resources to be a part of the action, and it’s really not as hard as it seems.

    On a different note, I know NRDC (and I’m sure a bunch of other environmental organizations) are rallying now to end offshore drilling. It may seem like an impossible mountain to climb, but we must start somewhere. If you have not already encouraged Surfrider Humboldt readers to add their voices to the protest against offshore drilling, I hope you will. It’s really easy using online petitions and whatnot.

    Thanks again! ~Aloha~

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