Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave (Part Dieu)

This past April in response to the risk of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill reaching Louisiana's coastline and fertile coastal marshes, state officials started opening levee gates along the Mississippi River.  This move allowed extra amounts of Mississippi River water to flow into Louisiana's coastal marshes in an attempt to keep the oil at bay.

By many accounts the effort succeeded in minimizing the amount of oil entering the Mississippi River estuaries. However, now some oyster farmers and scientists are cataloging the deaths of large numbers of oysters in those estuarine areas.  They believe that some saline marshes have been so overwhelmed by fresh water that their salinity has dropped to levels that oysters do not normally face, resulting in the deaths of large numbers of oysters.

State officials have said that it is not certain to what extent the extra Mississippi River releases are responsible for killing the oysters.

Read a full Wall Street Journal story on the issue here.

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