It's been nearly five years since the explosion and oil spill on the BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon. On Monday, a diverse group of environmentalists got together to talk about the lingering environmental effects.
Leaders from the Florida Wildlife Federation held a news conference at the Florida Aquarium to propose using potential BP settlement money for Gulf restoration projects. The speakers represented local fishermen, coastal residents and environmental experts from around the area.
Their proposed projects include restoration of wetlands, reefs and coastal areas, but they are also concerned about being reading for any future disasters.
Margo McKnight from the Florida Aquarium talked about how they're getting ready.
"So we're in the middle of creating a network of first responders for wildlife. So when these things happen, all along the gulf, the association of zoos and aquariums are prepared."
Five years after the spill the National Wildlife Federation has found numerous lingering effects on the gulf. Some of those including dolphin deaths, abnormal development of wildlife and continued decreases in fish and coral reefs.
The group has already identified 47 projects they believe would benefit the health of the gulf.
But, they say the greatest immediate need is the protection of sharks, coral reefs and sea turtles.
They have already secured a percentage of some future funds but are hoping for more when a final settlement is reached.