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Oil Spill and Delta Restoration Videos Look To the Future

The one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill is this week, and chances are you’ve seen plenty of reminders on TV and online. Many news outlets are again playing the images of tarballs, beach cleanup, and containment boom that made last summer seem so endless and awful—and they’re beginning to tell the story of economic recovery in the region.

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Our own multimedia team spent nearly three months on the Gulf Coast last year, but their attention was on the natural communities and the hundreds of thousands of breeding, migrating, and wintering birds that depend on the area. The four videos they produced are now live on our oil spill website. They tell a different and complementary story to the human element being told elsewhere: the story of what happened and, perhaps more importantly, what lies ahead for the Mississippi River Delta.

In the video above, Cornell Lab director John Fitzpatrick sketches the broad strokes. In a related video called Restoring America’s Delta, we dive into the details so that you can explore where Louisiana’s wetlands came from, why they’re disappearing, and why their restoration is integral to the cause of recovery from last year’s oil spill. In a guest post on the Delta Dispatches blog today, producer Marc Dantzker introduced the video this way:

In 24 minutes, we transport viewers to the Delta, to places few will ever see: the seabird colony of Raccoon Island, the engineering marvel of Old River Control, the shrinking marshes of Terrebonne Bay, and the fingers of new land forming in the Wax Lake Outlet.  Through these images, computer graphics, and expert interviews, we examine the formation of the Delta, its importance to people and wildlife, and the reasons for its decline.

We hope you’ll watch it. It’s a story of 6,000 years of geologic action and a century of human activity; it’s a cautiously hopeful look at a region in crisis; and it’s told in precise and unexpected images that our team painstakingly gathered last year—scenes you likely won’t see anywhere else.

For more on the oil spill and the effort to restore the Delta, see our oil spill website.

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library