Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-10-09 02:33:00 –
Apple HW Chiu / AP
Friday, October 8, 2021 | 11:33 pm
Huntington Beach, California — Environmentalists feared the worst after crude oil luster was detected in waters along the Southern California coast. It is a large spill that destroys the ecosystem.
After a week, the area and its characteristic beaches appear to have escaped a potentially disastrous fate, but the long-term damage to flora and fauna remains unknown.
The Coast Guard estimates that oil spills from a ruptured pipeline off Orange County are at least about 25,000 gallons (95,000 liters), less than 132,000 gallons (500,000 liters).
“Based on what we see, it’s a lighter effect than expected release in the worst case,” said Christian Corvo, Lieutenant of California Fish and Wildlife. “Based on that low threshold, we hope to have less impact on the coastline and less impact on wildlife.”
The news was welcomed after a disastrous week of beach closures in a water-centric seaside community. Authorities were initially afraid that Huntington Beach (called Surf City USA) would be off limits to surfers and swimmers for months. However, Mayor Kim Kerr said Thursday that she was “carefully optimistic” and could return to the water in a few weeks.
Many beaches remain open for volleyball, sunbathing and other activities, but people have to stay away from the water.
On the evening of October 1, an oily luster was reported on the surface of the water. However, the authorities confirmed the spill until the next morning. Coast Guard is under investigation Whether the ship’s anchor could have hooked, bent, or burst a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp.
By the middle of the week, by the oil platform, there was no visible luster, and the rotting odor that covered Huntington Beach last weekend had faded. A dolphin jumped into the waves and a bird scooped the surface of the water.
However, advocates said the situation was still serious and feared long-term effects on wetlands and marine life. Crude oil components stay below sea level and can affect the small organisms that fish ingest. Fish are later eaten by birds, marine mammals and people.
Offshore spills often attack birds first, as crude oil can adhere to the feathers and remain chilled by the temperature of the cold water. Ten oiled birds were found dead in five days, 25 were recovered and taken to a wildlife center for treatment. The recovered items include endangered snowy plovers. Oiled wildlife care network.
John Villa, secretary-general of the Huntington Beach Wetland Reserve, said the community was hit by more crude oil during the 1990 spill, affecting more than 1,000 animals. The spill caused oil to enter three swamps near the beach, but the rapid construction of barriers minimized the damage, he said.
“It’s not as bad as we were afraid,” he said, and the latest challenge is to get oxygen back into the swamp because new water doesn’t get in. “We expected more problems in the swamps.”
Mike Lines, director of public policy in Audubon, California, said migratory birds are usually not common in the region until November, which may have helped limit harm. ..
However, many birds may not have been found under the influence of oil, and other species that do not have the same migration pattern may not be so lucky, he said. Therefore, counting oiled birds is not an ideal way to measure the effects of oil spills, he said.
“Oil remains in the coastal environment and causes problems of all kinds for a long time,” Lines said.
As the oil drifted south, tarballs appeared on the beach about 50 miles (80 km) from their original location. This is an ominous sign that the impact on the environment is expanding.
“I don’t know what the impact will be,” said Garry Brown, co-founder of advocacy group Orange County Coastkeeper. “Sadly, it’s still early.”
Some of the biggest concerns are undersea effects. According to the marine conservation group Oceana, crude oil can choke deep-sea corals and kill an important food source for blue whales. Environmental experts said fish can ingest oil and toxins can travel up the food chain. Due to the spill, fishing has been banned for miles off the coast of Orange County.
Dunkalmic, a member of the Huntington Beach City Council and a director of the Wetland Conservation Group’s Bol Satica Land Trust, said the situation was better than early after the spill. But he said there are still many uncertainties about where crude oil goes in response to wind and tides.
“There is still a lot of oil in the water,” Calmic said.