Oil Remains In Wetlands After Barataria Bay cleanup

New Orleans, La. – Mayors on Landrieu's tour on a hot June afternoon watched as scores of boats attacked the spill in the hardest-hit area of wetlands. Miles of white and orange boom outlined the craggy shoreline, some parts coated in oil.
Now, the boom is gone. So are the shoreline clean-up crews. But the oil's still there. It quickly seeps onto shoes in only a few steps on the dying grass.

Those cannon sounds are made by propane guns to keep birds from landing in the sludge.

Plaquemines Parish coastal program manager Albertine (al-bur-teen) Kimble drove her airboat onto the edge of one patch for a closer look.

"See those waves hitting that grass? All it's doing - excuse me - dead grass - is making it collapse into the Gulf of Mexico. That's exactly what's going on. You talk about speeded up coastal erosion - that is the savior, this is the end. This is the death. When you lose this, it's over. Got to have the wetlands."

Kimble and several others with airboats took reporters for a look at Bay Jimmy. The healthy-looking taller grass was back several feet from flat, dead oily marsh that's obviously washing away.

"We save New Orleans. If we lose this, it's coming to you. That's what I tell everybody. If we lose our wetlands, it's just gonna eat like a cancer -- The fastest-growing cancer you've ever seen in your life. And it's gonna spread up on the state. Just like a disappearing act. That's what it's going to be like. Can't do nothing, though. You gotta keep fighting."

The airboat tour followed the launch of the America's Wetland Foundation plan to battle coastal erosion along the Gulf Coast.

"Local government, state government, everybody getting together. All the smartest of the smart. That's the answer. Working together and not leaving."

In Bay Jimmy for WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.