TERREBONNE, La. – The flock of pelicans taking flight along the shore of Lake Raccourci in coastal Terrebonne Parish was a picture-perfect moment. But behind them was a disturbing sight on the shoreline: the edge of the marsh dead, with black clumps of oil tangled in the grass, strangling it.
“After the grass dies, then it is going to go further in with the high tide,” said fisherman Russell Dardar.
Russell Dardar of the Pointe-Au-Chien Indian tribe says neighbors are still finding fresh oil coming ashore, but what adds to the worry are the places where older oil is continuing to damage the marsh. Under the hard black surface is still liquid oil that coats gloves, and plants.
“Oil this thick right here, all through these grasses,” said Russell. “Further in, that’s all oil, and that’s the next grass that is going to die.”
“Very frightening, I’ve been shrimping, and crabbing, and oystering for over thirty years,” said his brother Donald. “It’s got me real worried.”
Along a coastline dotted with oil deadened marsh, Russell is marking the worst locations, so he can check back to see if the damage spreads, eroding the fragile marsh.
“You got dead grass all along this area, dead marsh, and what holds the marsh together is grass.”
But the big concern for the people in Pointe-Au-Chien is why is this oil still here, three months after BP stopped the leak in the Gulf? Why hasn’t this been cleaned up?
“They gonna say they gonna hurt the marsh, by coming to pick this up. I say if they leave it here they’re gonna hurt the marsh,” said Russell.
The uncertainty remains for coastal fishermen who wonder how long they will have to endure this pollution.
“I’m very worried, because this is our livelihood, and what we do today is going to affect our grandkids,” concluded Russell.
A BP statement said that oil clean up activities are coordinated with state and federal officials. It adds that in areas where the clean up is thought to do more harm than good, natural processes are allowed to continue.