By Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune
When a team of scientists from the National Wildlife Federation recently visited a marshy patch along the northern edge of Bay Jimmy in Plaquemines Parish, high winds forced them to beach their boat on the isle's protected side and walk across cordgrass to the Gulf-facing shoreline in search of oil. They didn't have to search long.
The marsh edge "was dotted with asphaltene mats of dried oil," said David Muth, the federation's state director and former director of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park. "And there was a dead white pelican, and there was oil on the bird's feathers."
When the television crew accompanying them reached the spot, National Audubon Society ornithologist Melanie Driscoll looked down and pointed at the photographer's shoes, Muth said.
"There was liquid oil bubbling around his shoes," he said.
Two years after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, oil can still be found staining as much as 200 miles of Louisiana's jagged coastline.
While the worst oiling remains at Bay Jimmy, other hot spots include the Middle Ground area of the Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area, where oil gets caught beneath wetland grasses; Elmer's Island and Fourchon Beach, where tar balls repeatedly wash up on the sand; and on barrier islands stretching from the northernmost part of the Chandeleur Island chain to the Isles Dernieres off Terrebonne Parish, where tar balls and some oil are found.
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