Weho City activated its West Hollywood Responds program to encourage community members to donate to organizations in urgent need of contributions to support clean-up, wildlife rescue, and recovery efforts following the devastating oil spill off the coast of Orange County in Southern California on Saturday, October 2nd. With more than 130,000 gallons leaked and traveling along the coastline, the spill leaves behind a trail of thick sludge devastating wildlife and ecological reserves.
The City has assembled a list of organizations on its website at www.weho.org/wehoresponds.
“As we witness the devastating effects of the climate emergency unfold in a myriad of ways across the globe, the news of this oil spill hits close-to-home for our community. Many residents and businesses in the City of West Hollywood are asking what they can do to help,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “Trained spill-response personnel are deployed to stop the spread of the oil and to clean up parts of the environment that have been affected, so volunteers are not needed at this time. But donations are vital to helping organizations respond to the overwhelming need. I hope our community can give generously to support the work being done to help affected wildlife and to help teams as they work toward restoring the coastline and ecosystem.”
West Hollywood’s core values include Responsiveness to the Public and Responsibility for the Environment. The City of West Hollywood has a deeply held commitment to protecting and improving natural and built environments. As such, the City is mindful about the important role that local governments and organizations play in mobilizing assistance for communities when disasters strike.
In 2005, the West Hollywood City Council first established West Hollywood Responds as a local disaster relief program developed to provide assistance to the Gulf Coast region following Hurricane Katrina. It has been reactivated multiple times during the past several years.
Some organizations collecting donations to support oil spill clean-up, wildlife rescue, and recovery efforts include:
- Bolsa Chica Conservancy (https://bolsachica.org), which provides services that inspire and connect all generations through community involvement and leadership in hands-on restoration and education in wetland science, watersheds, coastal ecology, and environmental sustainability. It has established an Oil Spill Emergency Response Fund at, which is available at https://bolsachica.charityproud.org/Donate/MiniCampaign/16422 to support organizations deployed in response to the oil spill.
- California Coastkeeper Alliance (https://cacoastkeeper.org) works to protect the waterways and coastline and uses a strategic combination of law, policy, science, and advocacy to protect and restore fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters.
- Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy (http://www.hbwetlands.org) works toward a common goal: saving our wetlands. The Conservancy owns and manages 127 acres of the Huntington Beach wetlands, including the including the 27 acres of coastal dunes and works with local, state, and federal agencies and property owners to acquire, restore, and manage the coastal wetlands in the Orange County coastal zone.
- Surfrider Foundation (https://www.surfrider.org) is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves, and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network. The Surfrider Foundation has prepared specific information regarding the oil spill response, including an “Oil Spill Toolkit” and links to action and advocacy efforts: https://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/major-oil-spill-off-orange-county-triggers-ecological-and-recreational-disaster-as-it-washes-up-on-local-beaches. The Surfrider Foundation is not accepting public volunteers at this time but will register names and contact information for those who are interested once opportunities become available.
Local and state agencies note that volunteers from the public are not needed at this time, and they can, in fact, hinder response efforts. Volunteer efforts may become available at one of more of the following organizations and agencies:
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife is currently only accepting trained volunteers. For details, visit: https://calspillwatch.wildlife.ca.gov/volunteer
- City of Huntington Beach offers volunteer opportunities to help with animal rescue efforts, as well as cleanup efforts. For details, visit: https://www.huntingtonbeachca.gov/announcements/announcement.cfm?id=1637
- Heal the Bay is working on a public call to action with specific policy demands and is encouraging community members to support and follow a variety of organizations doing great work to rescue and protect wildlife from the oil spill and champion clean water and healthy wetlands locally in Orange County. For details, visit: https://healthebay.org/oil-spill-in-orange-county-california.
- Pacific Marine Mammal Center is not accepting public volunteers at this time but will register names and contact information for those who are interested once opportunities become available. For details, visit: https://www.pacificmmc.org/volunteer