Refugio Beach Oil Spill


Oil lines the shore  on Refugio Beach after a 2015 oil spill, Santa Barbara, CA

Refugio Beach Oil Spill Trustees Release a Draft Assessment and Restoration Plan for Public Comment

NOAA, and the state and federal Trustees working on restoring habitat and resources impacted by the Refugio Beach oil spill near Santa Barbara, have released a draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (PDF, 173 pages) for public comment. 

Two cleanup workers in white protective gear and yellow boots stand next to oiled rocks and ocean in background.

$22.3 Million Proposed to Restore Natural Resources Injured by Refugio Beach Oil Spill

March 13, 2020 - Today the Department of Justice announced filing for public comment of a consent decree proposing a $22.3 million settlement to restore natural resources injured by the Refugio Beach oil spill near Santa Barbara, California in 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

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:

Crews recover boom from Refugio Beach Oil Spill.

Public Invited to Submit Restoration Projects for Refugio Beach Oil Spill

The Trustees for the Refugio beach oil spill have announced that they are requesting project restoration ideas from the public. The trustees work with the public to select and implement restoration projects which are best suited to benefit injured wildlife, habitats and/or lost services. Although the restoration projects selected for this case will depend on the nature of the injuries, some general examples of restoration include replanting wetlands, improving fish access sites, and restoring bird habitat.

Crews recover boom from Refugio Beach Oil Spill.

Refugio Beach Oil Spill—What Happens Next?

Oil is being cleaned up from the shoreline and beaches are beginning to reopen following the Refugio Beach Oil Spill that took place in Santa Barbara County on May 19, 2015. 

Case Pages:

Oil on the beach at Refugio State Park in Santa Barbara, California, on May 19, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard)

Refugio Beach Oil Spill

Oil Spill | Santa Barbara County, California | May 2015

On May 19, 2015, a pipeline owned and operated by Plains All America Pipeline ruptured near Refugio State Beach. Over 100,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled, much of which ran down a storm drain and into a ravine under the freeway, entering the ocean.