The Problem...
The Public Is Unaware of the Magnitude of Natural Seep Pollution

Do you know... Natural Gas and Oil Seepage is the Greatest Source of Petroleum Pollution in the Ocean and Atmosphere

As pointed out by the National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, "natural oil seeps contribute the highest amount of oil to the marine environment, accounting for 63% per cent of the annual load to the world's oceans. Although they are entirely natural, these seeps significantly alter the nature of nearby marine environments. "

Do you know... Offshore Santa Barbara has the Second Largest Marine Oil Seeps in the World

The largest natural oil and gas seeps in the Western Hemisphere lie in the Santa Barbara Channel.  According to the California State Lands Commission,they comprise more than 1,200 of the over 2,000 active submarine seeps along the California coast. Half of these occur within three miles of an area called Coal Oil Point, located just west of Santa Barbara near the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus.

It is estimated that oil seepage for a single 6-mile stretch, including Coal Oil Point, averages 10,000 gallons of oil each day (240 barrels). Every 12 months about 86,000 barrels of oil seep into the ocean—the equivalent of the quantity of oil spilled in the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara. Since 1970, the quantity of oil that naturally seeps into the Santa Barbara Channel equals ~ 31 "1969" oil spills.

Do you know... The Tar on the Santa Barbara Beaches is from Natural Oil Seeps in the Channel

To the dismay of local beach-goers, sticky globules of tar lap up onto our coastline every day. This tar is an annoyance to many of us and is often perceived to be a man-made pollutant. In fact, the tar results from huge, natural seeps that have been spewing oil and gas into the Santa Barbara Channel for centuries.

Do you know... 55% of the Tar that shows up on Los Angeles County Beaches is from the natural seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel

The most heavily impacted beaches are those between Goleta Point and El Capitan Beach, although wind and currents oftentimes take the oil slick northeast onto Santa Barbara city beaches and as far away as Los Angeles beaches. Surprisingly, scientific evidence indicates that the Coal Oil Point seeps are responsible for half of the tar that washes up on the Los Angeles County beaches.


Do you know... Hydrocarbon Offshore Seeps are the Largest Source of Air Pollution in Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara's air quality has historically violated both state and federal quality standards. 

The natural seeps release more than 40 metric tons of reactive organic compounds (ROC) into the air every day.   In the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) of Santa Barbara County 2007 Clean Air Plan, the ROC from these natural oil and gas seeps are identified as the greatest source of air pollution in the county significantly contributing to the formation of smog. The offshore natural seeps contribute approximately 6,075 tons per year of ROC to Santa Barbara's air pollution - All transportation vehicles contribute about 4,000 tons.