BATON ROUGE, La. - Leading ocean scientists are skeptical about whether Governor Jindal's sand berm plan is a good idea.
"I know the jury's out scientifically about this," Dr. Chris D'Elia, the Dean of LSU's School of the Coast and Environment said Thursday.
Jindal is asking the Coast Guard to force BP to pay for miles of dredged sand berms which would be used to stop oil from reaching the sensitive Louisiana coast.
"There's been concern that what's been put down may get swept away by currents very quickly or may last only a season," Dr. D'Elia added. "On the other hand, the Governor has a lot of political pressure on him to do something. It may be that the berms will be effective in helping out over a very short period of time, and if it does that, then it will be wonderful."
“This is an emergency situation and we need to get things done, and that may be something that just needs to happen," Dr. D'Elia concluded.
Dr. D'Elia and LSU hosted a one day Scientific Symposium Thursday, on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The Symposium was put together by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
"The real value of having a symposium like this is to bring together with the federal scientists with the academic scientists," Dr. Robert Gagosian, the President of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership said.
Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was one of the featured speakers. Speaking to the academic scientists, she warned them about over speculating, "and the importance of verifying information, not jumping to unwarranted conclusions."
Dr. Lubchenco told the scientists, their ultimate goal is to have a holistic understanding of the Gulf, so they can eventually effect ecosystem level restoration.
The long term future of Louisiana seafood crop is in question.
"Will there be eventual recovery?" Dr. John Farrington of UMass-Dartmouth asked rhetorically. " I'm optimistic, but I couldn't give you a 100 percent guarantee either."
"The good news is that we know that wetlands and marshes can recover after a severe oiling," Dr. D'Elia added. "Under the right circumstances, and they may be down for a couple years, but they'll come back."
Scientists expect to be studying the effects of the BP oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem for at least the next 20 years.