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.

Continue reading

Restoring the Gulf beyond Deepwater Horizon

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

Since 1900, Louisiana has lost more than 1 million acres of wetlands and barrier shoreline. In just the past 50 years, more than 1,500 square miles of coastal Louisiana disappeared. The state could lose an additional 1,000 square miles of land by 2050– an area roughly the size of Rhode Island.

Since the oil spill of 2010, there has been some marshland die-off in critical marine life habitat areas like Barataria Basin. Birds and animals flock to the smaller islands of Barataria to mate and give birth. These islands were heavily oiled, resulting also in partial washing away in those areas.

To find out about the restoration efforts and challenges facing Louisiana and its wildlife, see http://bit.ly/I7xs0M.