Oil invades delicate marshes in Waveland - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oil invades delicate marshes in Waveland

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Crews continued to fan across the beach in Waveland Thursday, picking up tar balls and patties. At the same time, more oily gunk was washing ashore and sticking to the sand. And the clean-up is expected to get even tougher, now that oil has reached the marshes of Waveland and Hancock County.

"Once it gets into the marshes, pretty much the damage has been done," said Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo. 

This was not what Longo wanted to see. After all, the marshes provide nesting grounds for birds and breeding sites for crab, shrimp and other wildlife.

"I'm heartbroken. This is what people live in South Mississippi for. The beautiful day we have here, the beautiful gulf, the natural environment that we live in, and it's being soiled," said Longo.

WLOX found oil-soaked grasses, both on the south and north sides of Beach Boulevard. The affected marshes are located just west of Buccaneer State Park.

"Thank God it's more of a wake up call and a warning, than a lot of damage. It didn't go a long way into the marshes," said Longo.

He said city leaders have been urging BP and Unified Command to build berms to block the oil from reaching marshes further inland.

"Now the oil's here. It's too late to take the time to do that," Longo said. "So we're going to do silt fencing and the hay bales in front of that, along the north side of the beach road, and also across these inlets."

More booms are also expected to arrive soon.

"We have orange boom that washed up on the beach five days ago, coated in oil, and it's still sitting there. We finally got new boom to replace that yesterday," said Longo. "There's no excuse. And it's just very, very frustrating."

It's a frustrating fight to save the once pristine habitats.

"And it just hits you in the gut. It's a kick in the gut that none of us need in South Mississippi.  Every mayor is fighting the same battle, and I just don't understand why there's not more response on the ground," said Longo.

The sand beach in Waveland remains closed Thursday night, from Nicholson Avenue to the Silver Slipper Casino. Beach Boulevard is also closed to the public from Ioor Street to Clermont Harbor Boulevard. The mayor said campers can still use the beach to get to Buccaneer State Park, and he recommends that you use Lakeshore Drive to get to the casino.

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