Friday, May 28, 2010

Friendly Visits to DRC Today

This family had a blast in their Dolphin Encounter with Pax!

We also received a visit from a stately Great White Heron.

Everyone enjoyed this view of the Gulf of Mexico from our causeway. Ahhh!

All of these photographs were taken on Friday, May 28th.

We hope that all of you enjoy a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

DRsCene Today!

Some people have the mistaken impression that the Florida Keys have been affected by oil or tar balls. Thankfully, that's not the case. Our hearts go out to everyone in the northern Gulf that's currently being hit by the oil spill. We sincerely hope that the well is capped soon and that the clean-up efforts are successful.

A lot of people have been concerned and wondering if they should cancel their vacation plans in the Keys. Right now, everything's okay. There's a big three day weekend coming up and no reason not to visit DRC and experience all that the Florida Keys have to offer for fun, sun and water.

Here are some photographs we shot today.

Soaring high over clean, beautiful water.

Visit the Keys and DRC and enjoy the coolest way to travel!

The dolphin lagoons are clean and green -- just like they should be!

So far, so good and we'll keep our flippers crossed that this remains the case.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oil Sheen Hundreds of Miles from Florida Keys!

The following information was made available today (May 21st) by Florida Keys officials.

Oil trajectory maps, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show light and very light sheens of oil and scattered tar balls from the Gulf oil spill in the Loop Current remaining well to the west of the Florida Keys through Sunday.

According to NOAA, the forecast position of the southern point of the sheen on Sunday is about 300 miles to the west of Key West.

Meanwhile, NOAA analysis show most of the oil, especially heavy concentrations, has not entered the Loop Current.

During a news conference late Thursday, NOAA administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco reiterated that finding and stated, "If you look at the satellite images, it is obvious that the bulk of the oil is far away from the Loop Current."

If any of the oil makes it to the vicinity of the Florida Straits, it would be highly weathered and both the natural process of evaporation and the application of dispersants would reduce the oil volume significantly, Lubchenco said.

Oil entrained in the Loop Current would require persistent onshore winds or an eddy on the edge of the Loop Current for it to reach the Florida shoreline. If this were to occur, the weathered and diluted oil would likely appear in isolated locations in the form of tar balls, NOAA wrote in a statement.

Currently, there are no advisories recommending against travel to the Florida Keys or any other precautions advising visitors and residents not to engage in fishing, diving, swimming or other water sports, according to the Monroe County Health Department. Seafood from Florida Keys waters is safe to eat, officials said.

Federal, state and local environmental and emergency management agencies have met several times to review and modify mitigation strategies if a response to an oil threat is required for the Keys.

On Thursday, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist added Monroe County, in the Florida Keys, to a list of two dozen Florida counties already under a state of emergency declaration. Even though no Florida county has seen oil yet, the declaration was issued so counties can pre-qualify for federal reimbursement funding and individual business loans, if needed.

With this news, it's clear that the Florida Keys are still in excellent condition. The islands are ready to welcome you for a fun-filled vacation with all of your favorite activities on, in and around the water. Come on down and visit. All of the dolphins, sea lions and people at DRC will love to see you!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tar Ball Update

The Coast Guard confirmed today that the tar balls discovered the other day in Key West are NOT from the oil spill in the Gulf.

From time to time very small numbers of tar balls float ashore from other sources, such as large ships that pass the islands far out at sea. While, of course, we wish that this didn't happen, at least they do not significantly impact the Keys shoreline or peoples' enjoyment of the Keys.

We continue to monitor the current situation with the oil spill and will keep you updated as news becomes available!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Answers to Oil Spill Questions

As expected, many people are asking us about DRC’s response and plans should the oil spill reach the Keys. These questions will most likely increase now that some tar balls have been spotted in the Lower Keys. Dolphin Research Center appreciates everyone's concern and wants to address your questions.

Q: When is the oil spill going to reach the Keys?
A: Although tar balls were recently spotted in the Lower Keys, we are waiting for the results of an analysis to tell us whether they are a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. If these tar balls are not connected to the oil spills, then we do not have a definitive answer on when or if the spill will reach the Keys.
In much the same way as can happen with hurricanes, situations frequently change. Sometimes, some areas in the Keys are directly affected while others are not. Dolphin Research Center continues to follow the reports of government officials throughout Florida, including the Florida Keys and the City of Marathon, who are monitoring the situation minute by minute. There are many factors at play such as: federal plans to attempt to keep the oil from spreading, what form the oil might be in if it reaches our shores (Tar balls as opposed to liquid crude oil, etc.), how much might reach the Keys and where, as well as the impact of prevailing weather conditions. These are just some of the things that will determine the extent to which our beautiful islands will be directly impacted.

Q: How and what are you going to specifically do to protect the dolphins and sea lions?
A: From the time that the oil spill first happened, Dolphin Research Center began formulating plans and aligning resources to keep the dolphins and sea lions safe. What we do specifically will depend on what form the oil is in if it reaches the Keys, how much arrives, and other factors.
We have access to different types of containment booms and are developing other methods to help block the substance from the lagoons. A representative of BP’s Incident Command has been on-site here at DRC to personally gain an understanding of our facility’s needs if the oil approaches Grassy Key.
There are additional strategies that we can employ and we will do whatever is necessary to protect the pod. Until we know more precisely what form the oil will take and the degree to which it might impact us, we cannot specifically say which strategy will be activated.

Q: Will DRC help with the clean-up efforts in the Keys?
A: Absolutely! In fact, we’ve already begun. There are preliminary beach and coastal cleanups underway. The more existing trash and debris that is collected from the shorelines and mangroves now, the easier it will be to remove oil or tar balls should they affect the Keys. At a recent bridge/shore cleanup, DRC staff and volunteers worked on land and by boat and hauled in over 30 large bags of debris.
Dolphin Research Center is the licensed Manatee Rescue Team for the Florida Keys. Members of DRC’s team have already completed training classes specific to oil response so that we can continue to perform this important service for any manatee that might be affected.

All of us who call the Florida Keys home value our beautiful islands and are committed to helping in whatever way possible.

Thank you for your questions and concerns about the dolphins, sea lions, and islands. Many people have asked how they can help DRC during this challenging time. Donations are always helpful and provide funds that we can use for whatever is necessary when it becomes necessary. Donations can be made on our website by clicking on Help DRC. Thank you!

We will continue to update this blog with additional information about the oil spill. In the meantime, if you have planned a vacation in the Florida Keys in the coming days or weeks, please do not rush to cancel those plans. Please continue to check this blog as well as the official Florida Keys website ( for updates about the status of the oil spill and the Keys. The dolphins, sea lions and all of us at DRC would love to see you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oil Spill Update - DRC

We’re pleased to report that everything at Dolphin Research Center is great. The Florida Keys remain unaffected by the oil spill and are absolutely beautiful. If you’re in need of a vacation with warm sun, sparkling clean water, places to relax, and plenty of fun activities to choose from, come on down!

Many of you have asked what you can do to help. Yes, we are accepting donations to help purchase equipment and supplies that we might need if the oil slick or any residual petroleum material makes it way to our islands. In the meantime, the best thing that you can do is continue with your vacation plans to visit the Keys and come to Dolphin Research Center. If you know of someone else who is traveling here, please reassure them that we’re in good shape at the present time.

We can combat the oil spill. It is more difficult to change public opinion. We know that people are concerned about their travel plans and we’re doing everything we can to guard against them thinking that DRC and the Florida Keys are in the direct line of the oil slick at present time.

DRC continues to carefully monitor the situation with the Gulf oil spill and plan accordingly to protect the dolphins and sea lions, should it become necessary. We’d like to stress that we are under no imminent risk at this time. Should the conditions change, we will have plenty of time to put plans into action.

We continue to keep the people and places in the Northern Gulf region who have been directly impacted in our thoughts and hope that their efforts to mitigate the effects are successful.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Update on Oil Spill

As of this morning, the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizons rig was still at least 100 miles away from the Loop current and many more miles away from the Florida Keys. We are assured by state and federal agencies that there are no impacts projected for the next 72 hours to any part of the state of Florida and likely longer for the Keys.

Dolphin Research Center continues to monitor the situation and make plans to protect the family pod if necessary.

Like everyone we are hoping that the efforts being made to contain the spill and lessen its devastating impact will be successful. Our hearts go out to everyone in the areas that are being directly impacted by the oil spill.

Many thanks for your continued concern.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Information about the Oil Spill

Along with everyone in the United States, Dolphin Research Center is deeply concerned about the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. The immediate and long-range environmental impact of hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil erupting from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig will be nothing short of disastrous to the oceans and marine life.

As you know, the health and well-being of the dolphins and sea lions is always our number one priority. Although we do not know at this time whether the oil will threaten the Florida Keys and Dolphin Research Center, please rest assured that we are taking proactive measures to protect the family pod. Our team is hard at work on action plans and on obtaining appropriate equipment that we might need. For example, there are special booms that absorb great quantities of oil. If necessary, we will set these around the lagoons to form a barrier and keep away as much oil as possible. As always, we will do whatever it takes to keep the dolphins and sea lions safe.

Many of you have asked if we will move the pod to another location. Removing the dolphins from their ocean home and transporting them to unfamiliar surroundings would not be our first choice. We believe that there are other protective measures that can be taken before considering such a move.

Government officials throughout Florida, including the Florida Keys and the City of Marathon, are monitoring the situation minute by minute. There are many factors at play such as: federal plans to attempt to keep the oil from spreading and reaching the shores of Florida; prevailing weather conditions; and whether the oil slick reaches the Gulfstream. These are just some of the things that will determine whether our beautiful islands will be directly impacted.

The Florida Keys Emergency Management Team is providing us with regular alerts and we will remain on top of the situation until such time as the crisis is controlled and our family is safe. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the U.S. Coast Guard are advising Keys residents and visitors to seek information from official Web sites including: and

As always, we are grateful to all of you for your concern and support. Everyone at Dolphin Research Center knows that you join us in hoping for the best outcome during this troubled time. We will keep you posted as events continue to unfold.