Oil Spill – Pacific Ocean, Southern California

More than 120,000 gallons of oil that spilled into the Pacific Ocean has reached the Southern California coastline, closing parts of the beach as officials warn residents to stay away from the slick.

Federal, state and local agencies are racing to determine the cause of the spill, which is at least 13 square miles in size, and mitigate its impacts. Initial reports suggest the spill originated from on offshore oil rig.

The oil from the spill has already washed up onto Huntington Beach and the Talbert Marsh wetlands, an area that’s home to vibrant birdlife, including great blue herons, pelicans and endangered California least terns, which migrate up the Pacific Coast. The coast is also the habitat for myriad non-avian marine life, from fish, such as tuna and sea bass, to sea turtles, dolphins and whales. This spill has already left fish dead, birds mired in petroleum and wetlands contaminated.

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