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)

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >