The tragedy that struck the coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast raises the question: Could a similar catastrophe occur to our own wetlands like Bolsa Chica, which is still an active oil field? Over the years, a few oil spills have occurred in the wetland from sources outside Bolsa Chica. While they did not and probably never will approach the magnitude of the Gulf spill, they did cause some ecological and economic damage. I expect they will continue to occur, which brings up another question: Are we prepared?
Due to its geology, Bolsa Chica lies on top of what was once one of the richest oil pools in the state. Like the Gulf Coast, we also have offshore oil wells, but the conditions are quite different. The wells off our coast are not operating under the same enormous depths and pressures that plagued the Gulf operations. But should a spill occur off our shore, either from an oil platform or a tanker (which occurred in 1990), the Bolsa Chica wetlands would be protected by a boom, which is at the ready at the tidal opening, to be deployed at a moment's notice.