- Associated Press - Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Gulf of Mexico was not a pristine place even before the BP oil spill. Scientists asked to grade its health pre-spill gave it a “C” and graded its fish and wetlands a “D.”

The Associated Press sought these baseline assessments from 75 scientists as part of a series that will follow the recovery of the Gulf. Scientists only offered grades in their areas of expertise and an average was calculated for each category.

These are the pre-spill baseline averages on a scale of 0 to 100 _ from dead to pristine. The “overall” category grades are not averages of the subgroups beneath them.

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Overall health: 71

Wetlands: 65

Water quality: 69

Sea floor: 68

Food Web: 70.5

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Marine mammals overall: 72

-Whales: 69

-Dolphins: 75

-Manatees: 54

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Fish overall: 67

-Red snapper: 60

-Menhaden: 67

-King mackerel: 65

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Birds overall: 76

-Brown pelican 77

-Clapper rail 68

-Terns 72

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Crustaceans and mollusks overall: 71

-Shrimp: 72

-Crab: 68

-Oysters: 64

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Beaches overall: 74

Texas: 70

Louisiana: 63

Mississippi: 72

Alabama: 75

Florida: 80

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Other Gulf life overall: 72

Coral: 64

Sea Turtles: 57

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