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Oil Spill One Year Anniversary: Spill Sent Wildlife Packing

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the oil spill in Mayflower that dumped hundreds of thousands of crude oil into a residential neighborhood. Drew Petrimoulx gets both sides when it comes to whether the popular fishing site has been affected or not since the spill.

MAYFLOWER, AR -- Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the oil spill in Mayflower that dumped hundreds of thousands of crude oil into a residential neighborhood. 
The oil eventually poured into a marsh area that flows into Lake Conway.
   
Since then, there has been a lot of worry about the health of the popular fishing and recreation spot that is also home to many people.

"We used to have all kinds of birds and animals," said Robin Lang, showing us around the property near her home on the shores of the cove of Lake Conway.  It's where storm drains carried crude oil after a pipeline burst in a nearby neighborhood.

The woods and water are what brought Lang to this area six years ago.

"We liked living in what appears to be the country," said Lane.  But, Lane explained, that's been ruined.

"It's ugly," said Lane.  "It doesn't smell good and it's not nice to look at."

Lang says wildlife is gone and the sounds of noisy airboats buzzing across the water looking for oil are daily.

But in the main body of Lake Conway, it's a different story. 

"I have fished this lake my entire life," said Angie Watts.

Watts says the popular fishing spot is as good as ever.

"Everybody has an opinion, but I don't think it has affected it," explained Watts.

Locals say the stigma associated with the spill kept some away in the months after the spill, but that people are now returning to the lake.  Watts says she never left.

"I've eaten the fish ever since the oil spill and I haven't gotten sick," said Watts.

Officials say oil never flowed through culverts separating the cove from the main body of the lake and one year later that seems to be the divide from back to normal and still recovering.

"It's just something you can't enjoy as much as you did," said Lang.

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