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Date of Issue: May 08, 2010

Volunteers sought to monitor for oil

The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is seeking people who live along or are visiting coastal communities to watch for oiled wildlife, vegetation and beaches by becoming a Coast Watch volunteer.

Similar to the Crime Watch program, Coast Watch volunteers are community members who know the daily wildlife and plants that exist on their local beach. The “Coast Watchers” will assist BP, the state of Florida and partnering organizations in identifying beaches that need attention. 

Coast Watchers will work within the coastal communities where they live or visit and commit to do the following:

· Report injured or oiled animals to the Wildlife Distress Hotline: 866-557-1401

· Report oiled shoreline to: 1-866-448-5816

· Report a change in air quality to: www.epa.gov/bpspill/

Coast Watchers are not permitted to enter off-limit areas to obtain observations and must not make contact with oiled wildlife, vegetation and beaches due the health concerns associated with contact. 

Citizens wanting to become a Coast Watcher do not require any special training or registration. However, they should be conscious of the coastal environment in their community. If a Coast Watcher observes contaminated wildlife, vegetation or shoreline, such should be reported immediately to the numbers above.

For up-to-date volunteer opportunities regarding the oil spill, visit www.volunteerflorida.org.