Update on Orange Beach, Alabama, Gulf Coast

Orange Beach, Alabama
You can still lounge, despite the oil spill! Image courtesy of GulfCoastRealtor.com

Remember our Alabama Beaches post? The one were I spouted off how the beaches are still open, despite the oil spill? Guess what?

The beaches are STILL open!

Most businesses along the Gulf are open, so be sure to call up your accommodations to check before doing anything rash. And remember, for areas like Orange Beach, the main source of income comes from the tourism industry, so consider keeping your travel plans a way to help out with the oil spill. Either that or you could look into doing some volunteer tourism.

Here’s the latest (as of June 14th 1:35 pm) from thebeachfacts.com

  • We are experiencing some significant oil impact, ranging from tarballs to odor, in certain areas across the island. Some stretches of beach are seeing little sign of oil, while others are experiencing greater amounts. Local officials are urging more rapid response times and will continue to be diligent in their efforts to keep our beaches as clean and safe as possible.
  • The City of Orange Beach is flying double red flags at public beaches. This means waters are closed for swimming or wading.
  • The Alabama Department of Public Health has a swimming advisory in gulf waters off Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, and in bay waters immediately adjacent to Fort Morgan, in Bayou St. John, Terry Cove, Cotton Bayou or Old River. A swimming advisory means that individuals are discouraged from swimming in affected waters. To read advisory information and frequently asked questions, visit the Alabama Department of Public Health website.
  • The beaches are OPEN and visitors are still welcome to sunbathe and walk the beach, but we strongly suggest they swim in a pool or enjoy our many off-beach activities
  • According to NOAA, tarballs DO NOT pose a health risk to the average person. However, beachgoers are advised not to pick them up or bury them and asked to report any sightings. To report sightings of oil or tarballs on the beach, please call 866-448-5816. To report oil impacts to wildlife, contact 866-557-1401.
  • NOAA’s current closed fishing area includes federal waters eastward to Panama City, Florida. The Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources has closed state gulf waters and some inshore waters. To view a map of the closed area, go to http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
  • The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has closed the following areas to all recreational vessels and watercraft, including recreational fishing vessels and watercraft: All Alabama waters south of a line running from the southernmost tip of Bear Point to the Eastern shore of the mouth of Ono Harbor on Ono Island. This will include Bayou St. John, Terry Cover, Terry Cove Harbor, Cotton Bayou, Perdido Pass and all canals entering these waters. Ono Island has closed its canals and harbor. Ono Island is privately owned, and the decision was made by their private neighborhood association, not any government agency.