After the Huntington Beach oil spill released over 126,000 gallons of oil into the environment, experts are racing to contain the spill and threat to marine wildlife. According to Dr. Sean Anderson, a professor at CSU Channel Islands that studies these environmental disasters, this spill is similar in size and scope to the 2015 oil spill at Refugio Beach in Santa Barbara. This oil spill will most likely affect sandy beaches and areas that accumulate debris such as harbors, inlets, estuaries, and wetlands, which are a key concern.
A major oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach began on Friday, October 1, spilling over 120,000 gallons of oil into the Southern California coast. After studying the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Dr. Andrea Bonisoli-Alquati, Cal Poly Pomona, says this oil pipeline spill could endanger sea life for many years. According to Dr. Bonisoli-Alquati, marine life "might not look visibly oiled, but the exposure that they get subtly through their diet or because of physical contact later on might affect their physiology, their health and translate into a lower reproductive success and therefore lower chances of the population to persist."
In August, there was a significant increase in Pismo clams surfacing on the beach near Oceano Dunes. According to Pismo clam expert Dr. Ben Ruttenberg, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the numbers of Pismo Clams surfacing at once are unprecedented. Researchers are searching for answers for this sudden rise, as the Pismo clam population has struggled since the 1900s. "We’ve never seen a population pulse this big,” Ruttenberg said. “It’s exciting. We’re seeing them return.”
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