Scientists: Flood the Mississippi to Save Coast

This 'gentle flushing' could protect wetlands from oil
An April 25 satellite photo shows the oil slick. The Mississippi Delta is at image center, and the oil slick is a silvery swirl to the right.   (AP)
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(User Submitted) – In order to prevent the Gulf oil spill reaching Louisiana's wetlands, scientists propose a unique idea: flood the Mississippi River. This Popular Mechanics article explains how the Mississippi water flow acts as a natural counter-force against the current-driven oil plume's course toward land.

"Enough water coming out of the mouth of the river (produces) a little bit of a push out into the Gulf," a scientist says. The bad news? The river's water level has dropped off drastically because of seasonal cycles, and this may allow greater inward penetration of oil. As a solution, scientists propose that upstream dams increase flow capacity normally held back. This effect, called gentle flushing, is one of the few methods that can remove oil from the wetlands while minimizing ecosystem damage.

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