) nationally. InFlorida, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was the leadagency for responding to the oil spill.The Florida Fish and WildlifeConservation Commission (FWC)has and will play a vital rolethroughout this event until impactsare known and dealt with effectively.FWC staff (working with DEcounty governments, water management districts and several federalagencies) has conducted pre- and post-spill fish and wildlife assessments.These include taking water samples and testing for contamination insediments, fish and shellfish and evaluating critical habitat for fish, andespecially shorebird and sea turtle nesting areas t P,hat might be impacted.
FWC scientist Larame Ferry photographs offshore oil from National Guard C-23 aircraft.
The FWC was very involved in locating the presence of oil, usingscientists aboard FWC law enforcement and research vessels offshore, as wellas patrolling beaches using all-terrain vehicles and doing flyovers with bothrotary and fixed wing aircraft.Beyond reconnoitering, the FWC played a key role in mapping impactsof the spill using geographical information systems and coordinating withmedia about fish and wildlife. Hands-on activities included involvement with