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Cleanup Of Oil Spill In South Coast Creek Complete

Oiled Wildlife Care Network
One of the frogs rescued from the Toro Canyon Creek area in Santa Barbara County after an oil spill.

An onshore oil leak on the South Coast, which injured or killed some wildlife, has now been fully cleaned up.

The problem was first discovered in July in Santa Barbara County’s Toro Canyon Creek area. The oil came from an abandoned oil well from the 1880s. The well had a system in place to control leakage, but it was damaged by the 2017 Thomas brush fire.

More than 400 gallons of oil leaked from the well site and traveled about 300 yards to the creek channel. The spill killed at least 17 birds, and 13 bats. More than 90 oiled frogs were recovered from the area.

The spill cleanup has been completed, with contaminated soil removed, and plants cleaned. The cleaned frogs were re-released back into the creek. Work will continue for the next few months to repair the damaged habitat. The oil well capping system was repaired, but officials are looking at possible long-term fixes.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.