Three years ago we had no idea how coastal communities would be impacted by the BP oil spill, but in the weeks following the Deepwater Horizon explosion places like Dauphin Island saw what was on the horizon.
"The island was full of cleanup crews and massive amounts of equipment and things and of course as they came in the tourists exited. The island was basically shutdown everything that the island offers was taken away from us," said Mayor Jeff Collier
Mayor Jeff Collier says the island is starting to recover from an economic standpoint, but it doesn't seem like that's the biggest concern.
"Hopefully we're going to get back on the water and start testing again and start monitoring, making sure that the initial assessments which suggest that there was moderate damage to life in some areas is still the case," said John Valentine, Executive Director for the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
Valentine says right now there's no telling where we stand when it comes to our ecosystem. He says funding isn't available and that poses a problem. Until the funds are available the testing can't be conducted.
"Having a baseline to compare impacts after the fact, that's really been problematic for us. We can reconstruct some things, but we have to actually be out on the water to collect it and that's something we haven't been able to do," said Valentine.
Mayor Collier says the unknown is a bit scary, but he's also hoping the funding becomes available soon so that more research can be done.
"We don't know. We look and read and listen to all of the reports that are coming in. I feel very certain that there are a lot of studies and research being done and will continue to be done as far as what lasting affects they'll be, but everything that we're hearing right now seems very positive and it sounds like there's been less damage than more," said Collier.