{ecology of oil & gas industry}

The ecology of the oil and gas industries includes the physical elements of pipelines, wells, canals, and spill banks. This infrastructure has a significant and often devastating impact on surrounding wetlands.  Canals cut through the fabric of the wetland ecosystem, which fragments the plant life and allows water to rapidly flow through the environment.

The incision of an oil canal creates spoil banks that cut off natural drainage and effectively impounding part of the marsh. The channel itself increases water flow that inundates the rest of vegetation. Spoil banks also restrict sheet flow of water in the marsh which further oxidizes and drowns the marsh. As the spoil banks erode, the canals widen and increase saltwater intrusion, exacerbate coastal erosion, and ultimately convert wetlands to open water.

For example, in Louisiana there are 10,000 miles of underwater oil infrastructure that has contributed to sever land loss. “It is estimated that the oil and gas industries were responsible for 30 to 59 percent of coastal wetlands loss between the years 1955 and 1978,” (http://saveourwetlands.org/news-paper.htm).

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