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Pipeline P00547 (Huntington Beach) Oil Spill

Oil Spill | Orange and San Diego Counties, California | October 2021

What Happened?

Late on the evening of October 1, 2021, the San Pedro Bay Pipeline (Pipeline P00547) broke and spilled crude oil into the waters 4.5 miles offshore of Huntington Beach, California. Inspection of the pipeline indicated that the failure may have been caused by an anchor that hooked the pipeline, causing a partial tear. 

Over the course of the incident, an estimated 24,500 gallons of oil were spilled. Responders worked to recover and collect oil on the water and on shore. At the peak of the response over 1,800 personnel worked to assess, cleanup, and manage the incident.

What Were the Impacts?

The oil spill impacted ocean waters, rocky intertidal habitats, subtidal habitats, sandy beaches, and sensitive marsh habitats as well as the fish, birds, invertebrates, and marine mammals. NOAA and its state and federal natural resource co-trustees are investigating the extent to which the incident may have caused harm to fish, wildlife, and habitats. 

During the response a total of 116 dead birds were recovered and more than 30 live oiled birds were collected and rehabilitated. Among these birds, several threatened western snowy plover were treated and released. Marine mammal experts were also dispatched to respond to animal strandings. 

The spill also closed multiple beaches and harbors, affected the well-known Pacific Airshow, and impacted outdoor recreation opportunities such as beach visits and recreational fishing. 

What's Happening Now? 

*to view October 2022 Natural Resource Damage Assessment Newsletter Updates translated into multiple languages, please see the "Links and Data" tab. 
 

NRDA Preassessment Activities

Natural Resource Trustees made up of state and federal agencies are assessing the ecological injuries and human use losses caused by the spill. Through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process, the Trustees will quantify injuries to wildlife, habitat, and lost use of those resources, and develop a restoration plan for public comment.

Data collection in the field and analysis activities are active to address injuries to the environment and lost human use.
 

Ongoing Call for Restoration Projects

The Trustees are inviting the public to submit restoration concepts or project proposals that aim to protect, restore, and enhance the resources potentially impacted by the spill. These project submissions will be evaluated during the preparation of a draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (DARP) as the case assessment and restoration planning progresses. The draft DARP will eventually be released for public comment. The Trustees request interested entities to submit restoration project concepts or project proposals at fw8cfwocomments@fws.gov with the subject line “Pipeline P00547 Project Proposal”.

people in yellow construction jackets and hats cleanup a sandy beach area
Oil spill cleanup (Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife.)

“We are dedicated to working with our co-trustees to assess the impacts of this oil spill and hold polluters accountable. California’s coastal environments are vital not only for fish and wildlife, but also for local communities that depend on them. We look forward to working with our public to restore these important ecosystems to health.” 

- Amy Merten, Assessment and Restoration Division West Coast Regional Manager

Contacts

Troy Baker
NOAA Regional Resource Coordinator, West Coast Branch, Assessment & Restoration Division
troy.baker@noaa.gov

Last updated February 6, 2023