One way to keep oil from the Gulf of Mexico from creeping into Louisiana's marshlands would be to keep water flowing from the opposite direction. Scientists think rerouting a small part of the Mississippi river would do the trick, at least temporarily. A fork in the river normally sends some water to the south via the Atchafalaya River, which empties into the ocean west of the oil spill. If more of that water were directed instead to the mouth of the Mississippi, the marshlands would be flooded with fresh water. National Audubon Society coastal scientist Paul Kemp says this idea should be put in place soon, because it won't work if we wait.
The Mississippi will not be able to keep the oil at bay indefinitely, however. The river's flow naturally declines each summer, and by August, Kemp's idea will no longer be effective.Link -Thanks, Marilyn Terrell!
That's why Kemp rushed to submit a memo on June 9 outlining his idea to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which would have to approve any short-term river diversions.
In addition to rerouting the Mississippi, Kemp suggests that water currently held behind dams farther upriver should be slowly released. This would keep the flow of water as strong as possible.
(Image credit: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory)