Oil Spill Dissolving Wetlands

Oil Spill Dissolving Wetlands

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New Orleans, LA - Four years after deepwater horizon a lot of the damage in this part of Louisiana comes in what you don't see--and what you don't see here is a lot of Cat Island.  The island was once a vibrant place full of birds according to members of the National Wildlife Federation.  Today much of it is below the surface.  Mangroves are creepy fingers sticking up out of the murky water. 

The National Wildlife Federation took us on a boat tour of Bartaria Bay around the west side of the Mississippi River.  They contend heavy oiling at the start of the disaster embedded itself along these wetlands and is disintegrating places like Jimmy Bay.

“This was all land prior to the spill, this big section is gone,” says Boat Captain Kevin Crossen.  Along the shore you can see wooden stakes dividing the marsh into sections for cleaning--you can also see how the marsh has slowly sunk as this plastic pipe is the only thing visible above the waterline.

“This is one of those places where the oil came in and coated 30 to 40 percent of the shoreline with a thick thick thick slurry of oil and basically killed all the vegetation,” says National Wildlife Federation Mississippi Delta Restoration Director David Muth.  The wildlife federation is looking long term to try and make up for lost ground. 

“It's going to be hard to replace everything we've lost what we're going to have to do is look at the basin as a whole and think of how do we replace the function of the ecosystem, because as places most of them are gone,” says Federation Staff Scientist Dr. Alisha Renfro. 

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