Studying Marine Life a Year after the Oil Spill at Refugio State Beach

Crews clean-up oil using boom operations off the coast of Goleta, Calif., May 21, 2015.
Crews clean-up oil using boom operations off the coast of Goleta, Calif., May 21, 2015.

Studying Marine Life a Year after the Oil Spill at Refugio State Beach

May 19, 2016

One year after the pipeline oil spill at Refugio State Beach, scientists from NOAA and our partners are heading back to the site of the spill. They will be gathering a new round of samples to help determine the health of the environment and marine life.
This May and June, these teams will be conducting comprehensive scientific surveys at the beach near Santa Barbara, California. They will collect data on wildlife and habitats  impacted by the spill.

Specifically, the surveys will examine:

  • talitrid (beach hopper or “sand flea”) populations in sandy beach habitats
  • a variety of organisms in rocky intertidal habitat
  • surfgrass in subtidal habitats
  • fish, including grunion spawning on the beaches, and surfperch in nearshore waters

This information will determine the amount of restoration needed to return the environment to the condition it would have been in if the spill hadn’t happened. It will also determine the amount of restoration needed to compensate the public for natural resource injuries and lost recreational opportunities. This is part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process, which evaluates the environmental impacts of pollution and implements restoration to make up for those effects.

To submit a restoration project idea, please visit:http://bit.ly/refugiorestoration. Learn more about spill cleanup and response efforts at www.refugioresponse.com.