First of all my heartfelt commiserations to those who are affected by the flood in Canada. If there is anything we can do to help, please speak up! You may perhaps have heard of the flood we had here in Bavaria the last 2 weeks - my town was hit worst as a dam broke. Catastrophy Alert (that's basically like a national emergency of the highest level, only it's issued locally) was lifted only yesterday. There are no definite figures yet but the damage in my town alone is estimated to be around 0.8 billion Dollars. To give you an idea of what we're dealing with, here's a recording from a helicopter flight from Saturday last week (flash player required) http://www.br.de/nachrichten/luftaufnahmen-hochwasser-deggendorf-100.html That big road is a highway. When the main flood wave hit us it got flooded by more than 10 feet. These pictures were taken about 1 day before that, when there were only some 3 feet of water on it. We have a huge oil spill problem here. Does anyone have experience with that? We could do with some advice as this is (or was, rather) the nation's best farmland. After Kathrina it must have been similar, I think. Do we have members from that region who might be able to give us a few tips? We urgently need information on: * how to get the oil out of the soil (argh! Pun not intended!) (Still, kinda catchy...) * what plants might grow in the polluted soil (climatical conditions in winter like British Columbia, in summer like Northern California) * what plants should not be grown now (radishes, I suppose? They would grow in the contaminated layer) * would digging the oil under make it decay faster? * how can we avoid contamination of the ground water (the deeper soil is extremely pebble-ish so that there is a great risk of everything getting washed down there very quickly) Also, with regards to people who have gardens: * What plants can you grown in a oil-contaminated garden? * what can gardeners do to minimize the effect of the oil on trees and shrubs? Any advice would be welcome. You may think gardens not really important, considering the fact that several thousand houses and farms have to be disassembled to the walls and rebuilt, but people need something to lift their spirits and watching something grow around the ruins is just the thing now. I already tried to get into contact with one of the gardeners from the Page Museum and La Brea tarpits but I suppose they consider my request a hoax Guess I better call them on the phone tomorrow. I guess it'd be overstretching the laws of propability if I hoped that one of said gardeners is a member here?