Editor's note: At 8 p.m. ET Gary Tuchman reports on the lasting effects of the BP oil spill disaster.
For much of the country, the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster ended when the well was finally capped on July 15, 2010. Government predictions of the damage from millions of gallons of oil and dispersant were not as dire as many feared, media attention subsided and most people just moved on. But for those whose survival depends on the Gulf, they say they still live with the disaster every day.
“This oil disaster … was like a reoccurring nightmare. It was like a Hurricane Katrina every day. What is tomorrow going to bring? Are they going to be able to stop it? What's our lives going to be like?” said Clint Guidry, President of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. He added, “You still see a lot of that – so many uncertainties and so many question marks on what's going to happen to our fishery?”
That fishery could be in serious trouble from issues related to the oil spill.
Editor's note: CNN's Soledad O'Brien speaks with actor Kevin Costner about technology that separates oil out of water.
Editor's note: CNN's Rob Marciano reports on efforts to track, study, and rehab Gulf wildlife one year after the massive oil spill.
Editor's note: CNN's Anderson Cooper speaks with three survivors of the Deepwater Horizon explosion about the last year of their lives.
Editor's note: CNN's Soledad O'Brien takes a look back at the past year since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
(CNN) - Twelve months into this oil disaster there seem to be more questions than answers when it comes to the vast ecosystem that is the Gulf of Mexico.
Nature is resilient and can recover from most catastrophic events given enough time. Most scientists believe the Gulf will eventually recover, but when and at what costs?
Since January 1, more than 220 sea turtles and 175 dolphins have washed up dead on gulf shore beaches. Test results confirming a direct link to the BP oil spill won't be available for months. This is partly because good science takes time, but mostly because this information, along with a slew of other evidence, is being gathered to build a case for litigation against BP. Dirty water, damaged habitat, and dead animals all are being quantified to bring dollars back to restore the gulf.
Of all the solutions to the countless problems one seems to get the most attention: The Mississippi. Man-made levees and canals have changed the way the river feeds the gulf and its wetlands. Allow the river to "spread the ecological wealth" a bit by opening up the outflow and/or periodically releasing water/nutrients further upriver so the Mississippi Delta can replenish the wetlands that have been disappearing at astonishing rates for decades. Just a thought among many good ideas that may now be possible given the attention and dollars that will be produced from an eventual legal settlement.
Reporting on this disaster during the past year has brought me closer to these incredible creatures than I'd ever imagined. It's heart breaking to see the fatalities increasing at such alarming rates. Turtle and dolphin deaths this year are 10 to 15 times higher than normal. The Institute for Marine Mammals Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi has been busy testing these animals while also rehabilitating rescued ones during this event.
On this anniversary date we felt it proper to spend the day at their facility. While here, I got to meet a couple of their resident "retired" dolphins, just two more amazing critters I've gotten to know on this assignment.
Related video: Wildlife recovering from oil spill?
(CNN) – For the wife of at least one survivor of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, April 20, 2010 is the day she lost her husband. Meccah Boynton-Brown says although her husband Doug made it off the ill-fated rig, he will never be the same.
"There were more than 11 lives lost that day. Yes, there are 11 people that will never come home and see their families again, and my heart is so sad for them," Boynton-Brown said. But she added, "I am married to a different person now. I will always stand by his side but it seems like his previous spirit and character will never return."
According to medical records provided to CNN, Doug Brown has been diagnosed with a litany of mental issues from the injuries he sustained and the horrors he saw onboard the Deepwater Horizon including post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and depression and anxiety. His wife Meccah says his near-constant cycle of anxiety, frustration, anger and depression has had a profoundly detrimental effect on them and their 11 year-old daughter Kirah.
"My life has come to a stop. My daughter's life has pretty much come to a stop . . . the first thing I think Doug wants is to sleep a whole night without having a nightmare," she said.