Catastrophic Southern California Oil Spill

While Southern California is still feeling the effects of the October 2, 2021, oil spill in Huntington Beach, it reminds us of the damage that can occur to our fragile ocean habitat. Teams from California’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response are still collecting tar balls on those coastal beaches and the long-term impact is yet to be determined.

The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 was caused by a blowout on an offshore oil drilling platform, and spewed an estimated 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, creating a slick 35 miles along California’s coast and killing thousands of birds, fish and sea mammals. That spill led to the creation of Channel Islands National Marine Monument and ultimately Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Last week’s spill is a somber reminder of the importance of our national marine sanctuaries, including here in Monterey Bay.