Particularly hard-hit are the small islands in Cat Bay, part of the larger Barataria Bay on the west side of the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana. Satellite imagery shows how fast this has happened:
|Cat Island in 2006. Vibrant vegetation covers both parts of the island.|
|Cat Island in 2010, during the height of the BP oil spill. Absorbent booms surround the island in an effort to hold back the oil. A few small slicks (dark streaks) are apparent, possibly oil from the spill.|
|Cat Island in 2012. The once-thriving vegetation appears mostly dead, and the island has shrunk significantly in just two years.|
This 30-year timelapse sequence of Landsat satellite imagery vividly illustrates the problem facing Louisiana and the nation. As the barrier islands melt away, the bays and marshes of the Mississippi Delta -- hosting a vast, aging network of oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure -- are increasingly exposed to hurricanes and other severe storms. Can we fix this problem in time?