"Tiger dams" serve as first line of defense against oil

By Andre Moreau - bio | email

GRAND ISLE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana National Guard has made a home of the eight-mile stretch of Grand Isle soldiers are trying to protect.

"We've got about 70 guys out here working three shifts for 24 hours a day, eight-hour shifts," said one guardsman.

The lights and tents and equipment attest to the round-the-clock operation to lay heavy, thick water booms, also known as "tiger dams." The three layers of big water-filled tubes are the first line of defense the National Guard has put down to keep the oil from reaching the shore. The soldiers also set up a sand berm as the second line of defense.

"This is just for beach protection around here. It's pretty fast. You just roll them out, connect them and pump them full of water," the guardsman explained.

There is confidence the water dams can keep the oil from intruding.

"We anchor it down. We've got augers to come by and dig and drop anchors down. And, we've got these yellow straps and we tie those to it and that will help keep it from shifting with any kind of currents that come in," he added.

It works when the skies are blue and the seas are calm, but you do not have to look far to see the darkness that is out there and it is washing up every day.

The guardsman said they will either stay there and work some other projects or relocate to a different area.

Copyright 2010 WAFB. All rights reserved.