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Ocean Preservation

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Why are we seeing so many tarballs on the beach?

On December 28, 2021, the Unified Command announced that the Southern California Oil Spill was officially cleaned up. In simple terms, this meant that all recoverable oil from Amplify Energy's spill on October 2nd, 2021 had been removed from local beaches and coastlines, thanks to the outstanding efforts of professionals and volunteers to clean up the estimated 25,000 gallon spill.

Yet, in recent weeks, beachgoers have reported an increase in tarball sightings in Orange County, Los Angeles and Orange County beaches. This is reflected in recent data reports to the CalOES State Warning Center and Surfrider's tarball reporting app. On March 31, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) issued a statement acknowledging the increase in tarballs reported on the coast, but assuring the public that these are not the result of a spill. According to CDFW, "Tarball laboratory results collected and analyzed to date showed tarballs to be consistent with non-production, natural seep oil, and non-match for comparative oil samples from the DCOR and Amplify spills."

Nevertheless, Surfrider Foundation and other non-governmental organizations are urging members of the public to report oil found on the beach so we can continue to monitor the situation. To download the phone app and report oil, please see the link



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