Louisiana Marshland Defies Cleanup

Dredging to create barrier might actually be the most cost effective
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2010 1:30 PM CDT
National Wildlife Federation worker Emily Guidry examines oil on reeds along the Louisiana coast at the Mississippi River delta south of Venice, La. Thursday, May 20, 2010.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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(Newser) – Ever since the Deepwater Horizon spill, Bobby Jindal has been advocating building temporary islands to protect Louisiana's marshes from oncoming oil. With heavy oil hitting the wetlands this week, environmentalists are actually starting to take the Louisiana governor seriously, AOL News reports. It's not that the plan is great—there isn't much sand there to make the islands from—it's that cleaning up the marshes after the oil hits looks beyond difficult.

“Remember the photos of the workers pressure-washing the oil off boulders in Alaska? You can't pressure-wash a marsh,” says a New Orleans environmentalist. Restoring the marshes will be “very, very complicated.” Every cleanup method that wouldn't kill the marshes carries major limitations and drawbacks. Burning the oil off plants removes it quickly but could also cause erosion, and it's possible the flammable toxins in the oil have already evaporated.

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