Gulf Coast marshes may be irreversibly damaged from Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Volunteers help plant and restore a salt marsh in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana

Volunteers help plant and restore a salt marsh in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana

Much has been written about what’s called the worst oil spill in U.S. history – Deepwater Horizon. Now there’s even a major motion picture about it.

What has only received limited national press has been the devastating effect and impact on Louisiana’s marshes, home to over 5 million migratory waterfowl each year as well a large population of brown pelicans, terns, and other tropical birds and a variety of other endangered species. A 2014 pictorial view of the Louisiana coastline was one of the few and sobering accounts of the devastation long after the fact.

Now a study, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, finds the oil spill caused widespread erosion in the salt marshes along the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. And researchers say there’s a chance these marshes might never completely grow back.

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