Islands in the Stream Threatened

Roughtongue Bass, Image Courtesy of Islands in the Stream 2001, NOAA/OER.The “Islands in the Stream” are a series of underwater coral reefs, banks, and ridges that ring the Gulf of Mexico – forming an incredibly biodiverse and productive chain of habitat across the Gulf. In 2008, NOAA and others attempted to seize the unique opportunity to preserve these special areas by creating a series of Marine Protected Areas. Unfortunately, this effort stalled, and one of these beautiful and unique sites is now directly in the path of the BP oil drilling disaster. Tube worm colony, Image courtesy of Islands in the Stream 2001, NOAA/OER.The Pinnacles are a raised area of fossilized corals located on the ocean floor off the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. They are home to marine life like red snapper, and snowy grouper, as well as deep water denizens like tube worms and mussels, which are associated with hydrocarbon and brine seeps. The map below shows the location of the various “Islands in the Streams” throughout the Gulf states combined with yesterday’s oil slick projections. The black outline off the coast is the “area of uncertainty” where the oil slick could potentially go today. These “islands” (the yellow dots) serve as jumping off points for a variety of marine life as they make their way across the Gulf, and BP’s oil drilling disaster is already interrupting this important migratory route and directly threatening the Pinnacles. As you can see, two other “Islands in the Stream” sites are within striking distance if the oil slick continues to grow.Check out an article about the BP oil drilling disaster threatening the Pinnacles here.Raleigh Hoke is GRN’s Mississippi Organizer

Scroll to Top