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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Oil Hair Mats – An Environmentally-Friendly Way to Manage Oil Spills

Oil hair mats are used to clean up Ocean Beach, CA

Oil hair mats are used to clean up an oil spill at Ocean Beach, CA

Oil spills create serious environmental trouble for marine life.

2008 saw approximately 2,600 oil spills around the world, the majority from leaky pipelines, overturned oil trucks and harbor spills, along with illegal dumping and tankers colliding or running aground. 363 million gallons of oil (almost half the total oil spilled) came from used motor oil spills, much of which makes its way through our rivers and oceans.

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