Bowermaster’s Adventures – Measuring the extent of oil spillage

With the six-month anniversary of the BP spill now in the rear view mirror the company as well as a variety of officials both federal and state would like the world to believe the oil is gone.

But photos and first-hand accounts from Barataria Bay recently show the opposite – oil still reaching high into the marshy grasslands, baby crabs and adult shrimp covered by crude, slicks on the surface.

If you didn’t know it was November the scene is reminiscent of July, the height of the spill, with haz-mat suited workers rushing around in small boats, booms and vacuums still being deployed in attempts to clean up what is clearly still a mess. According to P.J. Hahn, Plaquemine Parish’s coastal zone director, more than 32,000 gallons of oil were sucked out of nearby marshes in just the past 10 days. “People think it’s over, but look around,” says Hahn.

This oil plaguing Barataria Bay is not newly arrived, but has rolled in since the well was officially capped on September 19th. While the Louisiana coastline considered “heavily oiled” (more than half an inch) has decreased from 54 miles in early July to 28 miles today, the total amount of Louisiana shoreline impacted by oil has grown from 287 in July to 320 miles today.

“In some ways it’s worse today,” Hahn said, “because the world mistakenly thinks all the oil has somehow miraculously disappeared.

“That’s simply not the case.”