Massive Santa Barbara Oil Spill 2015 Killing Ocean Life in Protected Sanctuary
The Santa Barbara oil spill on May 19, 2015 is far from over as dead and dying wildlife continue to wash ashore two weeks after the 110,000 gallon oil spill near Refugio State Beach.
On Monday alone, responders organized by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Oiled Wildlife Care Network recovered the bodies of 30 dead sea birds (mostly brown pelicans) and 13 marine mammals (mostly sea lions.) Five oiled birds and two mammals were found alive.
Since May 19, nine dead dolphins — some with mouths full of tar — have washed onto South Coast beaches. A total of 45 mammals and 80 birds have been found dead in the last two weeks. Of the 57 live birds and 38 mammals rescued, eight birds and seven mammals died in care. Body counts for fish, crustaceans, and other types of intertidal animals were not immediately available.
Local marine biologists have noted that many of the ocean-faring animals killed by the oil spill will likely sink into the sea and never be recovered. The true environmental impact to the region’s intertidal ecosystem — a delicate and narrow piece of the natural world where land and water meet — will be vast and long lasting, they’ve said.
The spike in Monday’s numbers may be due to the larger number of beaches response teams are now covering, a JIC spokesperson said. Shoreline teams are now canvassing as far south as southern Ventura County.
Pictured here is one of two dead dolphins found Sunday along Carpinteria’s shoreline. The photographer, area resident Robert Hubina, noted oil coming out of both dolphins’ mouths.
Community Demands Transparency in Refugio Oil Spill in Santa Barbara
Dozens of citizens marched through downtown Santa Barbara Saturday to protest the government’s stalled and opaque response to the Refugio oil spill and to claim a right to be involved. Carrying a dummy pipeline nearly half the length of a football field, community activists demanded change. They started from the waterfront and ended at the steps of Santa Barbara’s City Hall.
Following the oil spill at Refugio Beach on May 19, 2015, area-wide news agencies and environmental activists rushed to develop a clear synopsis of what had happened. As the news agencies continue their pursuit of information to report, environmental activists have demanded more transparency from the government’s multiagency response.
“We want them to be honest about the health effects,” said Lawrence Doherty of Santa Barbara. Doherty had been part of a rapid community response to the oil spill. He and a group of fellow students spent 10 hours filling 200 five-gallon buckets with crude oil. They did this all under the watchful eye of area law enforcement. According to Doherty, police officers informed them they were in violation of the law for trespassing, but allowed them to continue from 6:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Shortly after they stopped, cleanup crews dressed in hazmat suits arrived on scene. Doherty said a number of his group are considering seeking medical advice after the onset of headaches.The Independant
Image Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times