Posted by: Rebecca Triche, Executive Director, Louisiana Wildlife Federation
On March 31, several of us visited Cat Island in Barataria Bay and I was shocked to see its rapid decline from a previous visit just six months before. It was noticeably smaller in size, sinking in the middle, and looking more lifeless than I remembered.
A video clip from National Geographic highlights this island’s decline over the past five years since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion of April 20, 2010. It is a stark reminder that the impacts on habitat in coastal Louisiana from this disaster are long-lasting and on-going. This island was a top site for pelican nesting.
The loss of wildlife is distressing, too. Read more about wildlife impacts in National Wildlife Federation’s recently-released report that looks at how twenty species of wildlife are faring five years later. Five Years and Counting: Gulf Wildlife and the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster reveals data on dolphins, yellow fin tuna and white pelicans, among other species. It’s a snapshot, not the whole picture, but one that is helpful in seeing the impact.
As we reflect on this tragedy, let’s take a moment to remember the eleven people who lost their lives. Let’s also stay focused on restoring the Gulf’s ecosystem in the years and decades to come and remain vigilant about implementing Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.