Louisiana marshes bounce back after oil spill
Little lasting damage reported to wetlands
While the Louisianan coastline suffered damage in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it appears that it wasn't as bad as previously feared. Many report shoots of marsh grass and bushes of mangrove trees already growing back just months ago photographers shot startling images of dying pelicans coated in oil.
A cruise through the Barataria Bay marsh revealed thin shoots growing up out of large patches of soiled earth.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists told the Associated Press that the marsh across the Louisiana coast is healing itself, giving them hope that the delicate wetlands might weather the worst offshore spill in U.S. history far better than predicted.
While some marshland could be lost, the amount appears to be small compared with what the coast loses every year through human development.
A cruise through the Barataria Bay marsh revealed thin shoots growing up out of large patches of soiled earth. There remain dead mangrove shrubs, killed by the spill, but even there green growth was coming up.
When crude oil spewed from the BP well crept toward the marshes after an April oil-rig explosion, experts had feared it would kill roots in marsh grass, smother the mangroves and ultimately dissolve wetlands that plant life was holding together.
State, federal and BP cleanup efforts were focused on preventing that from happening by burning and skimming the oil, blocking it with booms and sand berms and breaking it up with chemical dispersants.
A combination of cleanup work and the marshes' resiliency or both has testified to the new growth of grasses, black mangrove trees and roseau cane, a lush, tall cane found in the brackish waters around the mouth of the Mississippi River.
"The marsh is coming back, sprigs are popping up," Alexander S. Kolker, a marsh expert and coastal geologist with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium says.
Visitors to the area don't report any blatant signs of the oil spill that had the world community running scared less than a month ago.
Joseph Breaux, a 41-year-old grain elevator worker remains optimistic.
"I don't see an oil slick or nothing," Breaux said. His two daughters and wife were going back and forth on the pier tending to a fishing line and crab nets.
He said he saw no signs of oil on the crabs they pulled in or on the croaker fish they caught.
"We're going to have us a crab boil," he said.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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