ONE YEAR LATER

Survey: Gulf of Mexico's Health is Normal

What a difference a year makes. On the anniversary of the disastrous BP oil spill, scientists believe that the Gulf of Mexico's health is nearly back to normal, according to an Associated Press survey. More than three dozen scientists gave the Gulf's overall health an average grade of 68 on a scale of 1 to 100; after the spill last summer, the same researchers graded the Gulf's health at 71 when asked what they thought it would be before the spill. And that's an improvement from the 65 they gave it back in October. However, there are certain blotches in the Gulf's ecosystem that have scientists concerned. They cite significant declines in the health of the sea floor, where there are random dead patches, along with the health of dolphins, oysters, and sea turtles. It will ultimately take time to see the full effects of the spill—everything looks fine on the surface as it did before the Deepwater Horizon explosion, but what lies in the ocean's murky depths is what causes concern. Moreover, the Gulf has long been victim to overfishing, hurricanes, and farming, and urban runoff from the Mississippi River.