On April 23, 2020, Louisiana issued a Request For Proposals (RFP for the restoration of the island that was used to clean seabirds of BP oil after the Deepwater Horizon disaster a decade ago.
Thanks to a combination of sea level rise, loss of seagrass due to the oil spill and land subsidence (due to channels cut for oil industry ships), the island is now so low that high tides often drown the eggs and chicks of the pelicans and other birds that nest there.
Bids are now open for the ecological restoration of Rabbit Island, where hundreds of birds were released after being rescued from the BP oil spill and de-oiled in 2010.
“BP oil led to rapid acceleration of wetland loss which contributed to the loss of several colonies in coastal LA over time,” says Todd Baker, a Wildlife and Fisheries biologist. “The colonies that these birds use are small and very remote and generally in the bullseye of erosion, BP oil amplified that condition.”
Photo of Rabbit Island courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Interior.