03 August 2010

Study to Investigate Pelagic Birds at Deepwater Horizon Site

A contract is being reward for a "study to estimate oiling rates among Pelagic Seabird[s] using ship-based surveys in the vicinity of the Deep[water] Horizon oil spill," according to information posted July 23rd at the Federal Business Opportunities website.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be awarding the $200,455 contract to J. Christopher Haney, "Chief Scientist and Vice-President of the Conservation Science and Economics Department" with the Defenders of Wildlife.

The objectives of the study are to "Collect data describing the proportion of pelagic seabirds encountered along ships path that are not visibly oiled, or that fall into pre-defined oiling categories. Collect data to support an estimate of the density of seabirds along ships' path. Document the location and state of bird carcasses encountered along the ships' paths.

"The proposed contractor J. Christopher Haney, Ph.D. is an expert in the identification and study of pelagic birds and has signed a confidentiality agreement with US Fish and Wildlife Service, and has secured as an expert witness for the Deepwater Horizon (MC 252) NRDAR case. This was the only source that could meet the Service requirement 4."

This requirement applies when "Services/Supplies are needed immediately to satisfy mission requirements and unacceptable delays will result when an award is made to any other source."

Haney was a co-author of the draft document: "Status Report On The Black-Capped Petrel" issued in 2006.

An email was sent to the organization requesting further information, but no response was available.

According to a FWS official, this survey is currently underway. An inquiry has been made to try and obtain further information.