Crabs In The Bulls-Eye: Timbalier Island

In Timbalier Bay, the clean- up workers may have left, but plenty of oil remains. The pictures below from yesterday’s excursion clearly show that not only did they leave, but they left their filthy mess behind them. On Timbalier Island I came across lots of extremely oiled and weathered boom, those pom-pon oil collectors, and of course lots of oil. The pools of oil that I found deep within the island appeared completely fresh. While there are plenty of tar balls along the beaches of the Island, huge pools of Louisiana light sweet crude can be found all over the place. The oil that penetrated deep into the heart of our barrier islands continues to wreak havoc and the wildlife continues to pay a price. Fiddler crabs can be seen scurrying around through oily sheen and thick oil puddles while minnows can be seen swimming in oily streams. Bird footprints can be seen throughout all of this oily mess as well as tracks from raccoons or other mammals. The whole area stinks like death. Vapors can be seen rising up above the marsh grass. The whole place is just really, really disgusting.Things are not right in Timbalier Bay. Yesterday was the opening day of White shrimp season yet few boats bothered going out. Most of the boats could be seen docked; some still retrofitted with boom. I spoke to one captain who did go out but came back completely empty handed. Another came back with just 30 pounds when a normal day would bring in at least a 1000 pounds. There were no clean-up crews anywhere. No men wearing Tivex suits. No boats could be seen attending to tangled boom, much less picking up that which was oiled. The response staging area in Port Fourchon that was once bustling with activity has vanished. The Bay, like the Island seems abandoned and, considering there is still so much unaccounted for oil out there, now is not the time for us to be letting down our guard. Jonathan is the Coastal Resiliency Organizer for the GRN.

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