HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — The California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife seeks volunteers to help with efforts to clean up the massive oil spill along Orange County’s beaches.
The call for volunteers comes as experts begin to investigate the cause and assess the ecological damage done by the estimated 120,000 to 150,000 gallons of oil that spilled four miles off the coast of Huntington Beach on Saturday.
The massive spill has drifted as far south as Dana Point, closing beaches and harming wildlife along the way.
The beaches in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach are closed to the public.
It is still unclear precisely what caused the leak and why officials at Amplify Energy Corp., the pipeline owner, didn’t shut down the oil pipeline right away.
According to the Associated Press, a ship’s anchor may have accidentally hooked and dragged an underwater oil pipeline. Amplify, federal investigators found, didn’t stop it for more than three hours despite an alarm indicating a possible leak, the Associated Press reported.
Since then, environmental organizations have mobilized to care for the animals and clean up the beaches.
The Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the world’s beaches and oceans, has set up a volunteer form and sought donations.
The Huntington Beach Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center is working with the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach has already helped clean up a few birds impacted by the oil spill and awaiting more animals.