Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sand berm to protect Barataria Bay wetlands gets federal OK

Adm. Thad Allen on Thursday approved a proposal to build a 6-foot-high sand berm just south of Scofield Island as a temporary barrier to keep oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill from reaching wetlands in Barataria Bay.

The berm, which would be placed just west of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, is one of six oil-protective sand berms proposed by the state that were granted an emergency permit on Thursday by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The estimated $16 million cost of building the Scofield Island berm will be borne by BP or the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, and will be used as a test to determine whether the Louisiana strategy would work, Allen said. If the berm proves effective, Allen could consider authorizing other barrier islands.

If the state wants to build the other five, including two east of the Mississippi River and three more to the west, it will have to pay for them, with no guarantee of being reimbursed, Allen said.

"There are a lot of doubts whether this is a valid oil spill response technique, given the length of construction and so forth," Allen said Thursday at Port Fourchon. "But we're not averse to attempting this as a prototype."

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response

The impacts on wetlands as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are only now just being addressed. There is an "all call" for volunteers and professionals help to work on cleaning up with the mess. The following link is the unified command website that lists the activities and ways you can help.

Rear Admiral Landry Approves “Top Kill” Procedure

Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral Mary Landry, acting on the validation of government scientists and in consultation with the National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, has granted approval for BP to begin proceeding with their attempt to cap the well using the technique known as the “top kill.”

This expedited step provides the final authorization necessary to begin the procedure.
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The Department of Energy’s Scientific Response to the Oil Spill

Secretary Chu and the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories are providing round-the-clock scientific support to help inform strategies to stop the BP oil spill. Secretary Chu and his team of scientists are brainstorming ideas about the most effective scientific and engineering approaches to the problem, providing expert advice and technical support validation, testing assumptions and making engineering calculations to help BP think through their approach.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

BP oil spill: Measures to mitigate wetland damage, stem flow continue.

About 40 percent of the nation's coastal wetlands are clumped along southern Louisiana, directly in the path of oil that was still gushing from a ruptured underwater well. Roughly 3.5 million gallons has escaped in the weeks since an oil rig explosion, and some is bearing down on the marshes as workers rush to lay protective boom.

"No question we will see some widespread impacts," Garret Graves, chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, said after an observation flight. "If we allow this oil to get into our coastal areas and fundamentally change the ecosystem, the consequences are profound."

Removing oil from wetlands is a huge challenge. Bulldozers can't simply scrape away contaminated soil, as they do on beaches. Cutting and removing oil-soaked vegetation could further weaken the fragile vegetation that holds the marshes together. Absorbent materials and detergents have limited effectiveness, Graves said.

If a thick enough layer of oil coats hardy swamp grasses and shrubs, scientists say it could shut down their equivalent of breathing -- absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

"You could literally suffocate the marsh," said Alex Kolker, a coastal systems specialist with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.

Even worse, the oil could soak into the ground and poison roots, killing entire plants. With nothing to anchor it, the soil would wash away, accelerating a process that has cost Louisiana about 2,300 square miles of coastal marshes and barrier islands the last 80 years -- an area bigger than Delaware.

A spill-related loss of wetlands would ripple through the food chain they support, from tiny organisms to fish and birds.

"It's like you pull a thread on the shirt and it all comes apart," said Mark LaSalle, an ecologist at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Miss.

Or the damage could be less severe and the ecosystem could survive yet again.

"It's like when you get pneumonia," Kolker said. "There's a certain amount you can handle and bounce back, and there's a certain amount that will make you miserable but you'll survive, and there's a certain amount that will kill you."

All hinges on how much oil reaches the wetlands, and how soon workers can plug the leak from the stricken well pouring at least 200,000 gallons daily into the Gulf since the rig exploded and sank April 20.

From Texas to Florida, the Gulf region is laced with wetlands. But Louisiana's are most directly threatened by the encroaching oil and by far the most plentiful, even after the state has suffered 80 percent of U.S. coastal wetland loss.

Wetlands feed and provide nesting and spawning grounds for multitudes of waterfowl and fish. Menhaden, the top commercial fish species in the lower 48 states and an ingredient in products ranging from insecticide to chicken feed, spends its crucial first months of life nibbling decomposed marsh grass.

"Lose the marshes and we lose menhaden," said Andy Nyman, a wetland and wildlife ecologist at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.

Wetlands perform the kidney-like function of filtering chemicals and other pollutants from waters, and they prevent floods by soaking up excessive waters like sponges and releasing them when levels recede. Historically, they have shielded inland cities such as New Orleans from the worst of the Gulf's tidal surges during hurricanes and tropical storms.

As land area of wetlands has declined over the years, so has their effectiveness.

Beginning in the 1930s, levees built along the Mississippi River to ward off flooding curtailed flow of fresh water into estuaries, killing off plants unable to live year-round in salt water. That accelerated erosion and converted former wetlands into open water.

The river previously deposited layers of new mud to replenish the marshes. Now, the levees prevent that.

As part of our responsibility to show the immediate and long term effects of this catastrophic oil spill on accelerated soil erosion your website via measures to mitigate wetland damage, solutions to control beach erosion, and methods to re-vegetate those areas damaged by soil pollution helps in its recovery.

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News of this theme will be posted here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Soil Nail Launcher Inc - Landslide Solutions

Soil Nail Launcher, Inc. specializes in design, build, warranty and repair of virtually any slope stability problem in any kind of geologic setting.

Soil Nail Launcher, Inc. is a specialty contracting firm operating throughout the United States. Our expertise and proprietary tools including the launcher, modified tools and crane baskets, along with our innovative technologies, worldwide reach, and design/build/warranty service allows us to repair virtually any slope stability problem in any kind of geologic setting.

With our innovative approaches to slope stabilization, it is possible to cut costs in half and cut completion time by 90%, compared to traditional landslide repairs.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Storm water runoff is a drain on Cleveland Metroparks as they battle erosion

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Developed land outside the Cleveland Metroparks has turned the 22,000-acre Emerald Necklace into the region's catch-basin for storm water runoff, damaging park property and costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year.
The runoff also is accelerating the erosion of hundreds of miles of waterways within the parks system, flushing as much as 45,000 tons of silt out into Lake Erie each year.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

USDA Announces New Program to Restore Wetlands

The US Department of Agri-culture has announced a new program, called the Wetlands Reserve En-hancement Program (WREP), to “restore, en-hance, protect, and manage habitat for migratory birds and other wetland-dependent wildlife.” WREP is offering at least $25 mil-lion for individual projects as well as projects that cover watersheds and lar-ger areas. The program gives priority to projects that achieve wetland resto-ration and improve wildlife habitat; use non-federal
resources to coordi-nate with local, state, tribal, or federal ef-forts; and provide innovation in wetland protection, restora-tion, and enhance-ment methods. “The wetland restoration and en-hancement actions,” said Tom Vilsak, US Secretary of Agriculture, “made possi-ble through WREP will maximize wild-life habitat values, water quality, and improve the overall environment.” A request for proposals is available on the USDA’s website, and the deadline for proposals is

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