Some Gulf Island National Seashore Visitors Advised To Stay Out of the Water

This graphic of the Gulf of Mexico shows where National Park System units are located. NPS graphic.

Visitors to a portion of Gulf Islands National Seashore on the Gulf of Mexico are being advised to stay out of the water due to oil and tar balls coming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The advisory was issued by the Escambia County (Florida) Health Department for an area running from Walkover 23 on Pensacola Beach to west tip of Santa Rosa Island including Fort Pickens. "This advisory extends to the Perdido Key area including Johnson Beach," reads a notice posted on the seashore's website. "Because of significant quantities of oil in the water and coming ashore, signage and flags advise visitors to not wade or swim in the water."

According to park officials, there have been "numerous" tar balls, smaller than a dime in size, as well as a "matted mousse-like substance" spotted in the seashore's waters.

A dolphin also was found stranded Wednesday on one of the seashore's beaches and died while being transported to a facility for treatment.

A veterinarian, two technicians, staff from the U.S. Coast Guard, State of Florida Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife responded. The dolphin was stabilized on the scene, covered with moist towels and splashed with water; fluids and a sedative were administered. Unfortunately, while being transported for further treatment in Panama City, Florida, the animal died. A necropsy will be performed to try to determine the cause of death.

No other national park unit along the Gulf of Mexico reported impacts from the oil gusher.