In late April, just days into what has turned out to be the largest oil spill in American history, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, with the support of local parish officials, ordered the opening of giant valves on the Mississippi River, releasing torrents of freshwater that they hoped would push oil back out to sea.
Now, reports indicate that the freshwater diversions have had a catastrophic impact on southeastern Louisiana’s oyster beds that is far in excess of the damage done by oil from the spill.
The Associated Press broke the story of the oyster deaths last week, and local news outlets along the coast are following it as well. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal chimed in with its own in-depth report.
Oysters require saltwater to live, and massive infusions of freshwater can quickly kill them. Once dead, the beds can take two to five years to become commercially viable again.
To read the rest of the story, please go to: The New York Times.
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration