The dire fear that Mississippi River floodwater would decimate the already much-beleaguered Louisiana oyster crop has, thus far, not come to fruition.
But with the Bonnet Carre Spillway just shuttered last week and one remaining gate open on the Morganza Floodway, some oyster fishers still have a wait-and-see approach, hoping large amounts of pocketed fresh water don’t move into their grounds. Yet the brackish balancing act between fresh and saltwater isn’t a zero sum game, as a little fresh water could be extremely helpful to oysters by decreasing predators and preventing disease.
Tidal cycles and wind have helped move water around, generally pushing it north and helping to mix Gulf and fresh water and restore some salinity levels.
But extreme drops in salinities have killed a significant number of oysters on some private and public oyster grounds throughout the state, and as July rolls forward state officials and oyster fishers will tally the dead and acknowledge their luck, a commodity few and far between in recent years.
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