Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Wisner Trust - Battle for the Bayou - A Battered Beach

Last Monday morning, Feb 18th, I hopped in the car with my camera before the sun rose and headed down to Port Fourchon, LA.  I was lucky enough to have taken a media tour of the Wisner property with other journalists.  The tour was hosted by the Wisner field inspector, Forrest Travica III.

Forrest grew up in the Fourchon area and has roamed the Wisner land since he was a child.  He knows the property inside and out...he's seen its natural erosion, the damage caused by hurricanes, and the constant bombardment of oil mats caused by the BP Macondo oil spill in 2010.  If there is a figurative doctor that could take the temperature and diagnose the health of the beach and marsh that comprise the Wisner property, it's Dr. Forrest.

In this video, he explains the importance of the Wisner property in respect to Port Fourchon and the wildlife that call it home.

Forrest Travica on Loop and Beach Integrity from Jason Berry on Vimeo.

Contrary to popular belief, oil from the BP Macondo spill is still bombarding the coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana through Alabama and even into the panhandle of Florida.  Port Fourchon and the Wisner property is on the frontline of this assault.  The expanse of the beach area that comprises Fourchon is getting upwards of 600 to 800 pounds of oil washing up daily pending wind and ocean conditions.

In the 2nd video, clean up workers discuss the oil they pick up daily per zones designated by BP.  Forrest goes on to discuss what he thinks is really happening with the continued influx of oil mats onto the property.

The Wisner Trust - Battle for the Bayou - Forrest Travica oil that is continually hitting the Wisner property from the BP Spill from Jason Berry on Vimeo.

The ugly truth is that this spill is going to be affecting the Gulf South for a very long time and the Louisiana shoreline will suffer the most.

BP would like you to believe that they solved the problem by using dispersant (Corexit).  In reality, it simply sunk the problem from public view.  The weathered oil is now with us for decades, if not longer.

On a personal note (my opinion and observation) I was somewhat surprised that I was even able to speak with the clean up workers and shoot the oil itself.  Having followed the spill from the beginning, this kind of access was never allowed in the early stages of the spill.  I guess BP isn't so worried about the PR repercussions now that they're reaching a settlement.

Also...donations are appreciated.  Shooting video ain't cheap.  Ashe' 


lil'oya said...

Was your twitter hacked, or are you sharing pictures of people? I got an email but I'm afraid to log in from it. I'm not a regular twitterer.

Anonymous said...

Why is BP not looking for oil in the 'sub-tidal zones'? Are they afraid of what they will find? Seems to me any legal team representing Wisner should be asking those questions.
In fact, if it is out there (and normal erosion points to this) should not the state be requesting the same?

Anonymous said...

The 'sub and tidal zones' are the areas where, most likely, the oil came ashore originally. Now that erosion has occurred, they will lie some distance seaward, or in the Gulf of Mexico - just beneath the water. Shifting sand, winds, and tidal movements will help cover these areas as well.

Re-oiling, or recurrent oil, will be discovered (or happen) as we have large storms (or fronts), tropical storms, or hurricanes. Oil will continue to wash ashore as long as those mats are not recovered just beneath the surface.

Having teams 'feel' for oil underneath the surface of the water is just foolish, as the video reports.

The only way to retrieve these oil mats is to essentially 'drill' or auger for them out in the water or surf to locate them not only under the water but under the sand floor. Once located they can then be removed.

This is the only logical method that can be used to help arrest the recurrent oiling that continues to take place.

But of course, I am sure these City attorneys, none of which have an environmental background that I can find, already know this.

Kevin said...

Impressive videos. Easy to watch and understand. I was struck by the fact that 150 to 200 pounds per day of "SMBs" and other oil still washing up onto shore "in each zone". Do you have any video where those articulate and seemingly knowledgable Spill Workers describe the size and number of zones?

Speaking of records, would it be reasonable to think those same individuals must be keeping some record of their daily activities, including how much oil, SMBs, tar balls, dead wildlife, etc. they encounter?

Not only am I not an attorney, but I'm also not a scientist. My personal thoughts on all the corings, etc. in the marsh was done so they could get some sort of background, pre-spill, levels for things that might be seen in the samples collected from the spill-impacted area versus the unimpacted, or pre-spill levels in the same area. They also probably wanted to establish some sort of perimeter where they feel safe in saying that, based upon existing data, there does not appear to be any impact.

After listening to the description of the 20% oil artery that runs beneath the beaches, it seems to me there would be some sort of security risk with opening up that area to public use and recreation.

Kevin said...


IMHO, your undeniable points about locating and removing the oil mats should be given immediate action.

Now I am able to better understand the video statements about using the vibracore sampling methodology. 2 of the smartest people I know, George Castille and Sherwood Gagliano, were once proponents of that sampling method where surface water is involved. They also know a thing or 2 about coastal and wetland environments.

Not to disrespect anyone, but if untrained and ill-equipped divers can recover gold from the floor of the Bearing Sea in some really cold-ass water, it seems like BP, who was drilling below thousands of feet of water when this all started, should be able to come up with a safe and sound way to find and remove some oil mats located within feet of the coastline of Louisiana.

Anonymous said...


Your right about BP and their capabilities. However, we must ask - Does BP really want to find the oil?