Bird’s Eye View: Oiled Birds Today In Bay Jimmy

It has been 6 months since the beginning of the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States. Sure, the Macondo well has been capped and there aren’t millions of gallons of oil free flowing into the open Gulf waters anymore. However, two excursions that I took this week to assess the impact s of BP’s drilling disaster clearly show that we are still in an environmental crisis. The first of these was a coastal Louisiana flyover. The second: a boat excursion today into Bay Jimmy where I came across oiled birds and heavily oiled marsh.On October 19th, I hopped in a seaplane and headed out on a flight path that stretched from Belle Chase, Louisiana, south along the eastern side of the Mississippi Delta, around the mouth of the Mississippi River, along the coast all the way to Timbalier Island, before heading across Barataria Bay back to base. I have seen a lot in the countless flights that I have taken over the last 6 months–lots of oil, lots of fledgling clean-up and containment efforts, and lots of badly damaged marsh. Yet, on this most recent flight even I was surprised (and saddened) to witness a seemingly unrelenting tide of oil hammering our beaches, bays, and estuaries. See for yourself: Today, October 21, I travelled by boat with a German radio station to show them the impacts BP’s drilling disaster has had on our coastal marshlands. I took them to Bay Jimmy in Plaquemines Parish, just to the east of Barataria Bay. Despite the picture perfect weather, it was an ugly scene. The entire Bay seems to be filled with oil. Most of the Bay’s surface has sheen on top of it. All of the bay’s marsh is heavily oiled. Birds are covered in oil. The grass is dying. There are some clean-up crews but not nearly enough. Here, check it out for yourself: I wish that I could say that, based on my observations, things are getting better in coastal Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it is going to take at least another 6 months before I can even hope to make that conclusion. Jonathan Henderson is the Coastal Resiliency Organizer for the GRN

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