River Spill

We are in southern Louisiana with my ESRM 492: Service Learning in New Orleans class.  Today we head down to lower Plaquemines Parish and it just so happens at 2am this morning we had a small spill of oil in the river.  Details are still flowing in and the Coast Guard are responding, but so… Read more »

Chennai Oil Spill

Our friends in India are battling a new oil spill that began in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 28, 2017.  The cargo ships BM Maple (UK flagged) and Dawn Kanchipuram (Indian flagged) collided about 4 km outside the mouth of Kamrajar Harbor, itself about 24 km north of Chennai Port, Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.  The Dawn… Read more »

Ballooning Plastic

A few distinct, but unrelated experiences have brought the issue of plastic balloons in the ocean into frequent conversation this week. It began with last Saturday’s annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.  I happened to be out on Santa Cruz Island with my son’s Boy Scout Troop.  Our 30 scouts made quick work of the debris… Read more »

Ojai Oil Tank On Fire

A now more than 12 alarm fire erupted within the past hour in Ojai, California (in western Ventura County).  The incident was reported at 8:35 a.m. near Highway 150 and Topa Lane roughly here ( 34.438417°, -119.132719°): The incident was originally thought to be a burning oil derrick, but subsequent reports have clarified that it is instead a… Read more »

Rio’s Toxic Olympic Waters

Every two years the Olympic Games roll around and we are treated to endless commentary and an amazingly small amount of actual sport (at least on NBC Universal Channels that have a stranglehold on U.S. broadcasts via their $7.75 billion contract).  Outside of the NBC hype machine, we have seen a pattern in recent years of… Read more »

Ball of Confusion: Hall Canyon 1 Month On

It is almost one month since our most recent energy infrastructure foundering: Crimson Pipeline’s release of crude oil into the hills above the City of Ventura.  Lots of developments continue to burble up as we all try to figure out the next surprise.

Hall Canyon Spill

Yet another start of the summer and yet another pipeline break on the south coast.

Refugio Oil Spill History: Timeline Part 1

The one-year anniversary of the Refugio Oil Spill has brought with it a raft of renewed interest in this oil spill and the consequences as we now see them.  We’ve done a good deal of media over the last couple of weeks.  Add to that plenty of breaking stories from all quarters (often speaking to… Read more »

Toast that repair guy…

Raise that Glass The one year anniversary of the Refugio Oil Spill is fast approaching.  Lots of folks have been asking my colleagues and me about the impacts of this spill now that we have the perspective of a year.  Well, first and foremost, I’m hugely appreciative to the repair man.

Coastal Commission Pushback

To say that the California Coastal Commission has been in something of an upheaval in recent months is an understatement.  The insanity even rubbed off on me and one of the boards I serve on (but that is a story for later).  The ouster of the Commission’s Executive Director in closed-doored session and with barely… Read more »

  • First hints at changing perceptions

    Our on-going public opinion polling of beach goers in the wake of the Refugio Oil Spill is beginning to show some interesting patterns.  We are still in the midst of collecting data (check back in a week or two when we have had a chance to fully explore this data coming in daily), but a… Read more »

  • This Toxic Tar

    Spoiler Alert: Our experiments are showing tar balls washing up on our beaches to be toxic to our local sand crabs.  If you are looking for that info, scroll to the Tar’s Toxicity heading at bottom of this post.  If you want get a brief primer on Ecotoxicology, then start right here… A brief history of poisons: French… Read more »

  • KCRW Covers Our Team

    Larry Perel did a great update on our beach monitoring efforts.  We recorded this last week, but he has updated his story with some of our more recent efforts.  Check out his story that aired on KCRW yesterday by clicking on the image below.

  • LA Beaches pretty clean

    Note: this is a field posting from a Mobil device, please excuse errors.  This post will be cleaned up this evening.    We have been getting to our more routine survey sites in Los Angeles County over the past few days.  We have seen no evidence of more recent tarring.  Generally the beaches in LA… Read more »

  • Our ROVs: Prowling for Oil

    Note: This is a partial re-post with some modifications from my students’ Aerial and Aquatic Robotic Research Blog. Check out what my students are doing now and have been doing in recent months with these killer new tools here: The AARR PIRatE Lab Blog.  Several of them are exhibiting some of our flying and swimming units at the… Read more »

  • Exxon: Drive rather than Pipe

    One of the many policy consequences of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil was a strong regulator of oil drilling and transportation at the county level in Santa Barbara County.  Santa Barbara County’s Planning and Development Department’s powerful Energy Division is an amazingly strong office with a suite of powerful permitting and oversight tools across oil… Read more »

  • OpenROV Live Posting

    We will attempt to post info about our subsurface trials of our deposited oil surveys here today, assuming we have connectivity.  https://openexplorer.com/expedition/refugio/#post-3663017             

  • Ormond Beach Tar

      We sampled our two beach sites at Ormond Beach yesterday.  As with our beaches in west Ventura County, we found a generally light to moderate tarring along the strand line.  It was consistently patchy with the majority of the beach being only lightly tarred.  We did also detect an oily sheen within the sand… Read more »

  • It keeps coming…

    Now we are seeing additional tar balls in Long Beach (in southern Los Angeles County). This tarring pattern has become all too familiar.  We think we are done with the oil “rain,” then we get a highly patchy deposition event which tars beaches with moderate to light tar balls (and occasionally an oil sheen).  The… Read more »

  • Da Grunion be here!

    June 2nd and 3rd are the peak spawning days of the year for our California grunion in 2015.  These fish are laying eggs and sperm as I type this into some of our newly tarred high tide lines across SoCal.