special report: watching grass grow in the gulf, and cheering! - fuel absorbent pads
Luiz Anna Delta (Reuters)-
Swamp grass is a tough guy in the plant world.
From Texas to Newfoundland, they dominate coastal swamps.
Burned their stems and leaves, and they came back more than ever.
They help slow down Hurricanes and filter pollution.
For humans, they are as indestructible as a green wall, they shelter birds, fish and endangered mammals, and act as nurseries for commercial species such as shrimp and crabs.
But let the oil enter their roots and underground reproductive systems, and they will wither and die.
If the grass is gone, they can take a part of the fragile wetland in the state of Luis Anna, which means thousands of acres (hectares)
Productive and protective swamps can become open waters.
BP's Deepwater Horizon leak in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to cause this damage, and from above, enough oil covers some swamp grass to make them look black.
Fortunately, their green buds tell another story.
Irv Mendelssohn, a wetland eco-expert who has been paying attention to the impact of oil on plants for 30 years, has provided them with cautiously optimistic predictions for recovering from recent environmental damage.
Mendelssohn said after a survey: "before collecting any data, people are very worried that this may cause real damage to coastal wetlands . "
South edge swamp day tour in Anna state.
"It turns out that we don't actually see much oil.
In fact, we don't see any oil on the surface of the bay.
"This does not mean that there will be no or no in the near future, as the materials from the broken wells continue to spread.
Wetlands are not the only thing on its road.
Environmental advocates worry about the effects of oils treated with dispersed chemicals that dock birds, fish and other wildlife that touch them --
And peas-sized rust-
Colored spots of this material float near the bird's foot Delta, where pelicans and seagulls inhabit and feed.
Doug Inkley, a senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation, said it is too early to judge the impact of the BP oil spill on the Gulf ecosystem, which ranges from deep sea to deep sea.
Dive the sperm whale onto the endangered Kemp's Ridley turtle
An old coral reef of tiny plankton at the bottom of the Gulf food chain.
"So far, no one really knows what's going on underwater, it's a complex system," Inkley said . ".
"You don't know which part of it you can knock down or what a huge impact it will have.
But for Professor Mendelssohn of the school of coast and environment at Luanna State University, early evidence suggests that "marsh-
Refueling "may be much broader than initially feared.
Tender Bud on oil
Earlier this month, Mendelssohn and two colleagues launched an external investigation.
The Boston whaling boat from Venice Pier enters the East of the Delta. The trio —
Mendelssohn, David White, Loyola University, New Orleans, Louis Annaset out at mid-
Stayed in the Reed for four hours.
They know where to look because the federal SCAT team (
Short for coastline cleaning and evaluation technical team)
I 've been wandering around the bay since the blowout and noticed where the oil has been.
The SCAT survey shows oil in the eastern part of the bird's foot Delta.
The tools used by the group are simple: their eyes, expertise and cameras.
Warm up in shorts, water shoes and hats, and in Mendelsohn and white;
Lin looks ready to return to his Baton Rouge office in trousers and shortssleeved shirt.
They all drove to the Delta One Day in July.
Mendelssohn said that in each of the four locations, they were able to manipulate shallow-
A boat right next to the grass, some Reed shoulders
High, other elephantshigh.
They did not measure, nor set foot in the swamp, recorded what they saw in the photo, and identified what needed further study and observation.
Mendelssohn and his colleagues are among the environmental activists and other scientists who have been on the Gulf Coast since the oil spill, many of whom focus on commercial species at risk.
Almost everything on the deluxe seafood platter
Clams, crabs, crayfish, shrimp, flounder fish, striped bass and rainbow trout-
A part of life in a swamp.
While the public's focus is primarily on those who harvest what the swamp provides, the swamp itself is also threatened.
This is the focus of the Mendelssohn survey.
Welcome trip for three people
The men's team's green shoots from the oil
The black stem of the Reed in the bird's foot Delta, a Waterland in southeast Venice, is located at the front end of Louis Anna's boots.
Although not confirmed by direct testing, these shoots strongly indicate that the roots are healthy.
"What we don't know so far is that although (reeds)
It's already on oil. . .
It does not kill plants. . .
"It makes me believe,
At least at this time, the long-term impact on these Reed communities will be relatively small --
On the vegetation.
There will be new shoots formed, and the effects of vegetation should be minimal as long as they are no longer oily.
Another positive sign, he said, is that oil is not deep into the coastal swamps, and there may be 6 to 9 feet.
On the edge, they are black weathered crude oil;
Plants are green in the bushes.
However, due to the habitual reserve of scientists, Mendelssohn warned about the assessment: He and his colleagues did not see every swamp, there may be some areas of wetland pollution that have not been mapped yet. There may be more oil to reach any hurricane this year. it is possible to penetrate the oil into the swamps and swamps. (
Swamps are mainly leafy grasses and reeds, and swamps are mainly woody plants and trees like cypress trees.
All wetlands. )
Mendelssohn said when asked to compare with other oil spills he has dealt with in Canada, Texas, California and elsewhere in the state of Luis Anna, the overall potential damage that might be caused by the Gulf Coast wetlands "from what I have seen so far, it looks quite small.
"This is good news for officials in the state of Luis Anna, who earlier alerted about what would happen when BP oil leaked into the swamp in the Gulf of Mexico.
"The day we were all afraid of was today," Luiz Anna Governor Bobby Jindal told reporters on May 19, less than a month after a blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20, A black blanket burst into the state's wetlands.
"This is not a tar ball.
This is not shiny.
This is the heavy oil in our wetlands.
It's already here, but we know more is coming.
"You can see where the oil leaked by BP has gone and is expected to be at www. geoplatform.
The projection path of oil is shown near the real-
Based on time, there will be predictions in the next two days.
It shows the SCAT team's inspection of the coastline with ratings ranging from the bright red of "refuel" to the blue of "oil not observed.
Most of the bird's foot Delta
The reason why this is named is because it is like this from the air --
With blue trim on the website, meaning oil
Although some red X indicates stranding oil, it is a free zone.
Mendelssohn called his "reconnaissance" swamp mission an important part of the painting, because oil pollution could have a fatal impact, oil pollution can kill the wetland reed and alone or in combination in two ways.
So once the oil gets into the wetland, how do you get it out?
There are at least four ways to do this, but if there is a big one
According to Mendelssohn's colleague Lin, the scale of the coast of Luiz Anna refuel.
One technology is spray height. volume, low-
Pressure Flow on oil
Covered swamp plants, just like you rinse off the greasy plates.
Lin said, but the dense swamp grass in the state of Luis Anna is dense and may not be penetrated by water flowers.
Wiping oil off with a suction pad is another option, but it's too laborious
Dense it is more suitable in small-
The scope of oil pollution.
Because people have to enter the swamp to do this, this brings another difficulty: if human workers have to enter the center of a reed, their presence may cause the destruction of the swamp alone.
Forest suggests biological restoration
Use fertilizers such as nitrogen and phosphorus to encourage microorganisms in the soil to break down Petroleum
As a possibility
However, he said that this method must be used very carefully because the same chemicals have flowed along the Mississippi River in the form of farm operations
Shut down, causing the annual summer "death zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, where oxygen levels are extremely low and it is difficult for any wildlife to survive.
That leaves in-
Burning in place for a century
Old technology used by wetland managers and landholders in the state of Luis Anna for a long time.
Setting fire to the swamp seems devastating, but with a layer of water, even a few inches (cm)
Thick, which may be an effective way to extract oil from contaminated wetlands.
This layer of water separates the roots and underground stems of the plant, which are called root-like stems, Lin said.
"For this oil spill, most of the time you will have enough water on the surface of the swamp," he said in an interview at Baton Rouge's office . ".
"In an instant, or in a very short period of time, it can remove all the oil from the surface, up to 90% of the floating oil, and remove all the oil coating on the plant material. ” In-
Lin said the site burning was used to clean up oil that spilled into the wetland within 40 days of Hurricane Katrina.
"We monitored the restoration of plants in terms of the structure and function of the swamp, and we found that there was no difference between the burned swamp and the adjacent swamp --
This means that Marsh is recovering very quickly in a year or so, and there is no difference at all.
"It is crucial to deal with oil because it can be fatal to grass.
First, if the oil itself is toxic
Some of BP's oil companies may
It can directly contact the plant, destroy the cell wall of the plant, interfere with the basic metabolism, including the ability to breathe and absorb nutrients, and thus poison the plant.
Second, if the oil covers the leaves of the plant enough to block the small opening known as the stom foot, it indirectly kills the plant.
Stomates absorbs carbon dioxide, and plants need to convert sunlight into growth fuel during photosynthesis. The worst-
If the spilled oil goes deep into the soil to cover the root-like stems, new stems are produced every spring, that's the case.
If the root and root-like stems die, what is the number of days the plant may be.
Another factor in Mendelsohn is shown in the YouTube video, which is what happens if the root stem crashes.
The stem is air. filled tubes;
When they die, they will deflate, and the soil around them will deflate.
These swamps are above sea level, so if they sink, the Gulf of Mexico can flow directly through them, and the wetlands can disappear through a phenomenon known as sinking and compaction --
The sinking and squeezing of coastal soil reduces land to water.
The disappearance of wetlands is not an idle threat in the state of Luis Anna;
35 square miles a day (90 sq km)
More people lose open water every year, over an acre in the last half hourA century or more
Part of the reason for this is the construction of flood-proof banks on the Mississippi River to prevent sediment from being deposited in swamps.
The bird's foot Delta has some of the highest sinking rates in the coastal state of Luis Anna. over a half-inch (12 mm)annually —
In the United States, the sinking rate in the state of Luis Anna is the highest.
40% of the United StatesS.
In the wetlands of the state of Luis Anna, this puts a critical buffer zone in danger for a country.
While Mendelssohn's initial assessment was optimistic, he sounded cautious based on BP's oil production.
"We know that there are a lot of things that have been leaked, estimated at 40,000 to 60,000 barrels a day," he said at Baton Rouge's desk . ".
"We don't know where it all is.
So if, because of a hurricane, a storm, or a high water level, some oil that may not have much degradation will be pushed into the wetland. . .
There may be some serious effects, and these plants may be stressed or killed as a result.
"But we don't know yet.
This is a big uncertainty.