Dead fish and birds are washing ashore along the southern California coast after an oil spill over the weekend.
A pipeline breach located five miles from Huntington Beach spilled 126,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean.
The oil could spell out ecological disaster as it seeps into crucial reserves and terrain for local wildlife.
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More than 125,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California, destroying ecosystems and causing dead wildlife to wash on the shore.
The spill occurred following an underwater pipeline breach about five miles off the coast of Huntington Beach on Sunday. The spill spanned 13-square-miles into the water, prompting city officials to close the beaches as the Coast Guard led cleanup efforts throughout the weekend into Monday.
"We've started to find dead birds and fish washing up on the shore," Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said Sunday, citing a CNN report.
Foley added that the oil spill "has infiltrated the entirety" of the area's coastal wetlands, including the Talbert Marsh, which is a crucial 25-acre ecological reserve "designed to refresh the wetlands with tidal flows required for their plants and animals to complete their life cycles," the Los Angeles Times reported.
"These are wetlands that we've been working with the Army Corps of Engineers, with the Land Trust, with all the community wildlife partners to make sure to create this beautiful, natural habitat for decades," Foley said. "And now in just a day, it's completely destroyed."
At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Mayor Kim Carr of Huntington Beach called the spill "one of the most devastating situations our community has dealt with in decades."
She added that the local response is focused on "preventing an ecological disaster by mitigating the impacts of the oil on our precious wetlands and wildlife," according to a report by The New York Times.
State Rep. Michelle Steele, a Republican representing Orange County, penned a letter Sunday to President Joe Biden requesting a major disaster declaration for the county in light of the spill.
"Constituents who live along the shoreline are already reporting oil on the beach and strong odors," Steele wrote in the letter. "Officials are already responding to protect sea life. Dead fish and birds are already being reported on beaches and shorelines."
"I have serious concerns about the environmental impacts of the spill and applaud the workers who are doing their best to prevent the oil from hitting sensitive wetlands," she continued.