It's almost here . . .

. . . and residents of Bayou Dularge in lower Terrebonne Parish, LA are not looking forward to its arrival.

I wish I could say I was referring to the end of the oil leak and the impending doom.  However, this author regrets to inform you that the title refers to the rapidly-spreading oil slick that looks like a four-inch layer of poo poo floating atop the surface in some places, and clinging to marsh grass as the tide recedes.

Photo taken by Terry Bourg of Terrebonne Parish, LA. Image shows oil left behind on marsh grass stems, indicated by the dark brown at the base of the grasses.

During the day of Sunday, May 23, 2010, avid sport fisherman, Terry Bourg heard a rumor that someone had seen the presence of oil enroute to some of his favorite fishing spots.  Not convinced until he had “seen it with his own eyes”, Bourg headed out with a charter fishing friend and arrived in short time at the exact spot where the oil was located, as though “he had been there once already”.

Bourg, who knows these waters like the back of his hand, reached the oil-blotched area based on the description of the location and by adjusting for current and drift.  In a way, though, he wished he had not been able to find the dreaded, brown, viscous oil slick.

Find it he did, and much to his dismay, this find caused him to reflect upon the fact that 75,000 feet of boom still sat at the staging area in Cocodrie, LA.  The United States Coast Guard is responsible for the ordering of the deployment of the boom, but someone really dropped the ball where this parish shoreline is concerned.

This past weekend, Governor Jindal once again ramped up his efforts to bring the need for immediate protection for the fragile marshes and eco system of the Terrebonne Estuary system to the attention of the Powers that Be.  At the governor’s insistant invitation, USCG Captain Stanton took a helicopter ride to see how an earthen berm had stopped the flow of oil into the marshes north of Elmer’s Island.  Afterward, the blackhawks brought the governor and his entourage to the coastline of Terrebonne Parish to see the dire need for the same earthen protection.

After all the show and tell, the moment of truth arrived:  A live press conference with Governor Jindal, Parish President Michel Claudet,  Representative Gordon Dove, and USCG Captain Stanton.  The media flung their questions like arrows, and all the dignitaries answered quickly, briefly, and what seemed to be as honestly as possible.  The press conference was running along smoothly until the coast guard captain took the podium.

He fielded his share of questions, and seemed to be holding his own until one reporter nailed him to the proverbial wall.  When asked whose job it was to spearhead the protection process, Stanton answered,

“It’s my job to direct this response in Louisiana, absolutely.  I’m gonna go right back the tell BP to hire more boats, hire more people, get more boom and put it out.”

Then the gutsy reporter pressed in and asked the good captain why those things had not already been done here, and his answer was truly unbelievable.  If I had not seen it on video with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears, I might not have believed it.

Captain Stanton answered with a question, “Do we really need to say why?”

To that the reporter replied, “Yes, sir, because we live here and we would like to know.”

With a slight shrug of the shoulders and an almost inaudible chuckle, Stanton mockingly answered, “Well, I guess I’m just slow and dumb.”

I said it before, and I will say it again.  The USA does not give one good hoot about the Terrebonne estuary system, the Bayou People who make their living catching seafood for the nation to eat, the plant life, the wildlife, or the marine life . . .

Photo taken by Brent Lebouef

like this endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle found early this morning.

Brent LeBoeuf was motoring along in his workboat, headed to check another wellhead, just another day on the job for him, when he saw an object floating, motionless, on the water.  Leboeuf netted the creature, which showed no sign of distress, and discovered only a small amount of crude oil on the turtle.

LeBoeuf then turned his sites to the water surrounding the boat and noticed oily patches all around.  We can safely assume that this oil is associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, which continues at this date to release the liquid toxins into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.

The yellow pushpins in the above image mark, from left to right:

My home on Bayou Dularge, the location of the dead sea turtle, and the location of the oily shorelines.

The barrier islands are marked to the south just to give you some idea how far from the gulf we are located.

I will continue to use this venue to update you from a very personal standpoint what is going on down here with the oilspill.  Our internet has been out all day, so I’ve traveled 15 miles to impose on a good friend and have been using her FAX, copy machine, computer, and DSL internet service for hours now.  Camp Dularge had two more cancellations today, two more fishing rodeos were canceled, and there is no end in sight.

On an otherwise positive note, my wetland tour route has not been affected by the oil, and if everyone does their job to stop it, it never will be.  So, please don’t let the oil leak keep you from coming down for your tours and overnight stays at Camp Dularge.  Thanks.

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts,

BW

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Comments

It's almost here . . . — 25 Comments

  1. I’ve tried not to look at the photos, but I just saw one of a young heron dying in the midst of oil-covered mangroves, and I burst into tears.

    I’ve signed up to volunteer with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, and I’ll help with wildlife recovery here if our teams deploy along the Gulf.

    Otherwise, there’s nothing but to watch and pray. If you ever think of something I can do, you know where to find me.

  2. No bayous here in the Lowcountry but we do have our marshes and wetlands.

    I can image the pain you and everyone around you are feeling as this thing starts swallowing your beloved waters and killing the birds and sealife.

    Tell your friends, though, that a turtle is not dead until he’s been dead 24 hours. Some go catatonic. They’ve been finding some Kemps stranded on local beaches lately and they won’t write them off as dead until 24 hours has passed without them reviving.

    The local Birds of Prey Center here has an “Oiled Bird” response team primed and waiting to be called. They can have a team in the area with 24 hours notice.

    http://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org/

    • Where are you writing from? The turtle was turned over to the local wildlife agents, so they should know that; but thanks for that information. I had no clue about them going catatonic.

      • That’s Palmettobug! The original Bug, whose likeness I was carrying around with me and took your pic with in front of the oyster house!

        She’s in South Carolina – that’s the “low country” she was talking about.

  3. I was hoping, wishing and praying y’all would be spared. After seeing what’s being done in Grand Isle, Elmer’s Island, and Fourchon though, I’m NOT surprised! Actually, I only observed G.I. but I saw A LOT (100’s) of photos taken by Richard Shephard, an aerial photographer who does conservation photography. He has a 1/2 dozen photos posted with many more to come. When we spoke yesterday, he said he had a lot of editing to do. His plans for today were to photograph the Queen Bess Rookery from his para-glider. His site is RSAirPhoto.com if you want to check it out later.

  4. Yep, that was my alter-ego that was with Linda. I live in Charleston, SC.

    I am pleased to make your acquaintance, m’am! I loved our trip with you, even if it was vicariously.

    I’ve been into the Santee Swamp here in SC several times with my Dad in his little jon boat. Linda’s pictures of our visit in your bayous were so much like what we’d see in the Santee.

    I had no idea, either, about not considering a turtle ‘dead’ , until it has been dead 24 hours. They either go catatonic, are in shock or just shut down, I”m not sure what, exactly. Kinda of like the way ER staff don’t consider drowning victims pulled from freezing water ‘dead’ until they’re warm and dead.

    I read that an article in our local paper this weekend, about finding quite a few Kemp’s stranded on local beaches lately. I think it was down around Hilton Head but I’m not sure.

    The S.C. Aquarium here has a sea turtle rescue and hospital. They periodically announce that they will be releasing one of their rehabbed ‘patients’ and invite the public to come watch.

    http://scaquarium.org/STR/default.html

    I’m not sure if they will be coordinating efforts with the DNR in the Gulf or not, or if you have a similar facility nearby.

    • Welcome, again, to the bayou, Bug! I’m so glad that you’ve come down. Right about now, I’m thinking of ESCAPE and South Carolina sounds pretty good. I’d love to spend some time in the wetlands there with the people there. I’ve never been to your state. Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to leave a note! We do have Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, but not sure if they are helping turtles or not. Come back soon, and maybe I’ll have a new uplifting post. But for now, it’s just bad news.

  5. There are no words that can even come close to easing this ache for you and the coastal people. I truely feel that this country is being brought to its knees by the ‘slow and dumb’…..economicly and socially and needless to say environmentally….. There are SOOOOOOOOOO many ways to deal with this spill – one of the best would be to use hay to soak it up. The grass LITERALLY soaks the oil into it and stops the spread of it – BUT – no one is using that. Where are all the whale savers and all these other groups who pushed for the government that we now have in office??? WHERE I ASK??? The people in office now are doing NOTHING MORE THAN ANY OTHER WOULD HAVE!!! Where is Al Gore???? Where is some of the groups that are commited to these things??? I know that there are some that are working their tales off to help, but others are just collecting the donations and sitting on their hands. WE the people of the United States of America need to get off our duffs and do the work ourselves. DO NOT DEPEND ON THE GOVERNMENT to take care of anything but their pocket books…..
    Sorry to be so harsh Wendy – but my heart is just breaking for you folks. Hard working good people like you and those folks who live around you are in our prayers all the time. .Love to you!! God keep you safe and I pray He helps get this cleaned up soon!!!

    • Oh, Heidi, it is sooooooooooo good to hear from you, and thanks so much for your fervor on our behalf. I have no energy left to be angry. Actually, I just have no energy left . . . . can someone please send me some?

  6. Friends,
    BW regrets to inform you that she has had two of the worst days in recent memory this week, the circumstances of which have to do with computer software glitches, stubborn sub contractors, well-meaning advisors, and continued business cancellations. Please pray for her and send her strength and good thoughts.
    BW

  7. Keep your fingers and toes crossed. I’m hearing that the top kill might, just might, be working. Pressures seem to be dropping and that is good news.

    Knock on wood.

  8. It is not my intention to make light of this serious situation in the least. I worked for several years running inland crew boats all through the area effected by the spill; first in the Kerr-McGee field in Breton Sound and then all through south Louisiana and up into the Atchafalaya. I cherish the area.

    But as the old saying goes, when one door closes another one opens. While certainly not as much fun you could probably start running charters for the media and people who want to witness the disaster first hand.

    After Katrina and the other hurricanes that devastated Louisiana this spill is almost the final nail in the coffin.

  9. I read in today’s paper that part of Terrebonne’s waterways had been re-opened. Any truth to this ? I hope, if this is true, it’s your area that has been re-opened so your businesses won’t be in further jeopardy.

    • Yes, from the Eastern bank of Bayou Grand Caillou going West. My businesses won’t be in further jeopardy once the media stops leading people to believe that the oil is everywhere. And let’s hope the oil shifts back to the east and that they don’t close them again, because this is about the FOURTH time they have closed and reopened since this fiasco began. Never know from day to the next. People cancel based on a closure, get their refund, and two days later, the waters are open again. It’s crazy.

  10. Let’s see what happens when the loop current floats all that oil around Florida and up the East Coast. THEN there’ll be some action. Makes me so angry the way our government treats the poorer states like Louisiana.

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