Lots of stories will emerge this month on how the fragile San Francisco Bay is doing following last year’s Cosco Busan oil spill. Most of them so far seem to have swallowed the state’s reports verbatim.
The first that I saw is from the San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. Bay seems recovered a year after oil spill
You can certainly debate how well the bay has recovered. I don’t pretend to be a biologist, but common sense – if earlier oil spills are any indication – tells us that longer periods of study are required. See: NOAA: Impacts of Exxon Valdez spill
In the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, scientists have traced much of the trouble to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, an especially persistent family of chemicals found in oil that can cause deformities, slower growth, and poorer reproduction in many birds and animals.
Read more online about this issue and a interview with Riki Ott who a trained marine toxicologist, she has studied the bilogical and societial issues surrounding the Exxon Valdez spill.
Even a government scientific report posted online, suggests that further study is in order:
…State and federal trustee agencies have been assessing the ecological injuries and impacts to human activities
caused by the Cosco Busan oil spill…1,859 [birds] collected dead, hundreds observed oiled but not captured. Total mortality estimation, taking into account birds missed and scavenged, and dead birds not related to the spill, is on-going. Recovery times will vary across species.
See: Natural Resource Damage Assessment for Cosco Busan Oil Spill (PDF)