Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 3:13 pm | A Few Clouds 71º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Shoreline Cleanup of Refugio Oil Spill About 75 Percent Complete

Oil spill response teams haven’t found oil on the water since June 3, but eight booming boats will stay at sea until all cleanup operations are finished in southern Santa Barbara County, according to the incident command for the Refugio oil spill.

The shoreline teams have been assessing and cleaning 96.5 miles of shoreline, and as of Monday night, 75 percent of the shoreline met its cleanup goals, officials said. Those areas are mostly sandy beaches, some which had little to no impact from the spill, and a few areas will be monitored to see if more oil washes ashore.

Work continues at cobble and rocky areas where crews are scraping oil off rocks by hand. The clean-up was 44 percent finished as of Sunday, according to officials managing the oil spill response effort. 

Crews are still at the scene of beaches closest to the spill’s source, including Refugio and El Capitan state beaches, and an area between Ventura and Oxnard. Both Refugio and El Capitan state beaches are still closed to day-use visitors and campers, with reservations canceled every day since the May 19 spill. 

The latest numbers from wildlife rescues show a growing number of dead birds and mammals found, with no estimate still on the impacts to fish and invertebrate marine animals.

As of Monday morning, officials reported 60 live birds and 156 dead birds found since the start of the cleanup response. The UC Davis Oiled Wildlife Care Network is helping the Department of Fish & Wildlife rescue wildlife and reports 42 live and 19 dead brown pelicans. Oiled birds found dead since the spill also include 20 common murres, 12 pacific loons and nine red-throated loons.

Some of the dead animals have visible oiling while others didn’t, and the specific cause of death will be determined by necropsies, according to officials.

There have been 45 live mammals and 83 dead mammals found since the spill was reported and that is mostly California sea lions, with 37 live oil-impacted ones rescued and 54 dead ones found since the spill, according to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Twelve dead dolphins and one dead northern elephant seal were also found, along with six live northern elephant seals.

The southbound lane closure on Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach will continue, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., for at least two more weeks, according to officials. 

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Shoreline cleanup teams have been combing the beaches for oil, and as of Monday, officials said cleanup for 75 percent of the surveyed area is complete. (Joint Information Center photo from Refugio oil spill)

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