Declaration of Unusual Mortality Event a Serious Concern and Further Investigation Needed

06.14.2019 | In Press Releases

As NOAA declares UME for dolphins from Louisiana to Florida, scientific analyses must proceed in earnest

(NEW ORLEANS – June 14, 2019) Earlier today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) as a result of elevated deaths of bottlenose dolphins in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. While the declaration extends from the Texas Border east all the way through the Florida panhandle, the exact cause of the UME is still unknown and under investigation.

Restore the Mississippi River Delta – a coalition of national and local conservation organizations including Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – issued the following statement in response:

“As wildlife conservation and environmental organizations, we are deeply concerned about the dolphin deaths that have occurred across the Northern Gulf of Mexico this year. The declaration stretches from the Texas border through the Florida panhandle, so it is vital that further scientific analyses be conducted to understand what exactly is occurring over such a large geographic area.

“Going forward, it is critical that we allow science to lead, so that we make the best decisions for dolphins and all wildlife. We await the results of the investigation by NOAA and their partners and hope the specific cause of this UME can be identified so appropriate action can be taken to minimize any additional impacts.”


Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781,
Jacques Hebert, Environmental Defense Fund, 504.264.6849,
Emily Falgoust, National Audubon Society, 337.853.0233,
James Karst, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana,
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348,

Restore the Mississippi River Delta is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from  Environmental Defense FundNational Audubon Society, the National Wildlife FederationLake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at and on Facebook and Twitter.