Here’s good news: Under a recent agreement, BP will provide $1 billion toward “early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to address injuries to natural resources caused by the spill.”
“This early restoration agreement, the largest of its kind ever reached, represents a first step toward fulfilling BP’s obligation to fund the complete restoration of injured public resources, including the loss of use of those resources by the people living, working and visiting the area. The Trustees will use the money to fund projects such as the rebuilding of coastal marshes, replenishment of damaged beaches, conservation of sensitive areas for ocean habitat for injured wildlife, and restoration of barrier islands and wetlands that provide natural protection from storms.”
“Coastal marshes” and "wetlands" are keys words in that statement. Because we diverted flow from the Mississippi River out of Louisiana marshes for decades (for flood control and to allow for development), we degraded and destroyed many of them long before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In fact, about half of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands have been lost because of diversion and saltwater intrusion, and 25 to 30 square miles still are destroyed each year.
If these funds are used wisely, they should help bring back the marshes/wetlands lost over the years, as well as mitigate damage done by the oil spill.
To learn more about the campaign to restore Louisiana’s wetlands, go to Vanishing Paradise.