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Gulf of Mexico oil spill: How to help

Gulf Oil Spill

Individuals and organizations are readying themselves for the fight to protect the water, land and wildlife that sits in the path of the oil sheen. Here are some ways you can help and other resources for staying on top of the story. Please read the comments section for other suggestions as well.

May 15

Deepwater Horizon Response Unified Command is urging the public to report any breaks in the nearly 1.2 million feet of boom that have been placed throughout the Gulf of Mexico. To report an incident, call 1-866-448-5816.

In addition, the group is soliciting the public's ideas for "stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf, containing or recovering it, or
cleaning it up." Click here to submit your suggestion, or alternatively, call 281-366-5511.

Related link: BP's suggestion box is spilling over

May 12

The International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) lets you support the 16 members of their Oil Spill Response Team, as well as other non-profit organizations working in the region, by "donating, becoming a member or adopting a bird."

IBRRC's blog: Documenting their work with injured birds

FAQ: How the IBRRC treats oiled birds

May 9

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade's Oil Spill Crisis Map lets Gulf Coast residents report "sightings of fishermen out or work, endangered wildlife, oil on shore, oil sheens, health impacts and other problems." Information can be submitted in a variety of ways.

"Reports can be made and viewed at http://oilspill.labucketbrigade.org. Mobile phone users can text or call in reports to  (504) 27 27 OIL.  Reports can also be sent to bpspillmap@gmail.com and through Twitter with the hashtag #BPspillmap. Eyewitness reports for the map require a description, and location information such as address, city and state, zip-code or coordinates. Citizen reporters can remain anonymous or disclose their contact information. Photos and video can be uploaded via the web."

Click here for more on the organization's effort.

May 6

The National Wildlife
, in partnership with its colleagues in the Gulf states, is recruiting volunteers for an "extensive volunteer wildlife surveillance network."

Click here for more information on joining the effort. 

May 5

The National Wildlife Federation is now accepting pledges via your mobile device. Text "WILDLIFE" to 20222 to donate $10 to the organization's "on-the-ground volunteer and restoration efforts."

WWL-AM, a news-talk radio station, is on nothing other than the oil spill story. You can listen live here: WWL.com.

May 4

From the Times-Picayune Staff, more Gulf oil spill phone numbers and websites:

To submit alternative response technology, services or products: 281.366.5511

To submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system: 281.366.5511

To contact the Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center: 985.902.5231

For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.

For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit the EPA's website.

May 3

Msnbc.com reader Madeline Crowley pointed out links to several local environmental organizations that are working on cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and accepting donations

Mobile Baykeeper is raising money in response to the oil spill in order to protect "the beauty, health, and heritage of the Mobile Bay Watershed."

Seabird Sanctuary has 300 volunteers on "stand-by" to assist with the Gulf Oil Spill if it impacts Florida.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation has set up a fund to help some communities that will be affected by the oil spill. 

May 2

Msnbc.com reader Corla Coles points out the efforts of Matter of Trust, a non-profit organization that invites salons, pet groomers and the abundantly coiffed to send leftover hair trimmings for use in highly absorbent hair mats and booms. According to their website, "Hair is very efficient at collecting oil out of the air, off surfaces like your skin and out of the water, even petroleum oil."

The group boasts twelve locations across region that are ready to receive human and pet hair, and hundreds of volunteers participating in "Boom B Q" parties stuffing the donated locks into recycled nylons to form booms that can be strung along beaches and marshes.

Related link: Organization combing country for spare hair to fight oil slick

May 1

To report injured or oiled wildlife, call 1-866-557-1401. To report spill-related damage, call 1-800,440-0858, and to inquire about volunteering, or to report oil on the shore, call 1-866-448-5816.

The Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board is connecting BP with fisherman looking to aid in the cleanup effort. If interested, call 281-366-5511 or e-mail, HorizonSupport@OEGLLC.com.

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is looking for volunteers to "fill a variety of needs." Pre-veterinary students, veterinary technicians, and anyone with HAZWOPER training (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard) are "strongly encouraged" to register.

The National Audubon Society is recruiting volunteers in the fight to save "ecologically sensitive areas." Visit their website to fill out a volunteer registration form.

OilSpillVolunteers.com also provides the opportunity sign up and assist with the cleanup.

While their website says volunteers are not yet needed, Mobile Baykeeper is urging anyone who is interested to call their office at 251-433-4229 or e-mail info@mobilebaykeeper.org.

Have we missed any opportunities that you've noticed? Leave a comment below.