Sidelined by the choppy seas that have plagued oil spill cleanup efforts for a week, skimming boats today collected just three gallons of oily water from the entire coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida combined.
Lingering high winds from Hurricane Alex have kept seas rough for days, meaning skimmer boats have been unable to work. The boats have idled at their docks, even as the waves overtopped booms and brought oil further ashore.
On Day 78 of the oil spill crisis, thick, dark oil continues to spew from BP's well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, and that oil has now marred all five states along the Gulf Coast, a 550-mile stretch from Texas to Florida.
Tests confirmed today that tar balls found on Texas beaches are from the BP spill.
The oil has even reached Louisiana's Lake Pontchatrain, north of New Orleans, home to some of the best commercial and recreational fishing in the Gulf, and now its waters are all off limits.
Today, fisherman Mike Maggio pulled tar balls from the lake's waters.
"I didn't know what it was," he said, calling it "heartbreaking."
The tar has been blown in by the stiff winds that haven't let up for a week.
Lines of barges have been placed to keep oil out, but it's impossible to seal the huge body of water, really a bay, from the open seas. So far, about 1,700 pounds of oily waste have been collected, but there is plenty more oil that could be coming.
Today, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal again lashed out at what he says has been an inadequate federal response that has rejected local ideas.
"You keep saying no to our plans, what's your plan?" Jindal said.
Watch 'ABC World News' for the latest on the BP oil spill on your ABC station.
The arrival of oil in Lake Pontchatrain is troubling news for a body of water that had just started recovering environmentally in recent years.
"Ten, 20 years ago, the lake was in a much worse state," said John Lopez, the director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. "Basically it looked like a lake that was dying."
The fear now is that all that progress could soon be destroyed in one black, oily smudge.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.