UCA professors lend expertise

Oil spill cleanup, recovery continues

Several professors from the University of Central Arkansas will provide assistance and expertise for the oil spill recovery efforts currently underway, according to a UCA news release.

On Friday, an ExxonMobil pipeline burst and dumped thousands of barrels of oil in and and around a subdivision and woodland area. The oil came close to Lake Conway but officials say did not go into the lake.

About 22 homes were evacuated. Cleanup efforts remain under way.

Several UCA professors have stepped forward to help, according to the news release.

Associate Professor Vickie McDonald and her students have been searching for birds impacted by the spill since Tuesday. Those birds still alive but coated in oil are then picked up by agencies permitted to handle them.

On Wednesday, students were in the area of 26 and 39 Dam Road in Mayflower.

Another professor has been asked by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to help with venomous snakes impacted by the spill. Ben Cash will be looking for snakes in Mayflower at about 2 p.m. today, according to the news release.

Cash said the frontier of treating birds covered in oil is more advanced than snakes. Handling the snakes could cause more damage, and the oil is tar-like and sticks to pretty much everything, Cash said.

Cash said it's hard to treat snakes.

Other professors in fish ecology, plants and soil impact and invertebrate ecology and stream ecology have volunteered and might be able to contribute, according to the release.

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