Damage to habitat and breeding grounds
The long-term damage caused by oil spills, however, is in what it does to the habitats and breeding grounds of all of these animals. They rely on these areas for the continuation of their species, and the damage done by oil is without a doubt one of the most significant environmental effects of an oil spill.
In the end, the overall cost and severity of environmental damages caused by a spill are difficult to calculate and depend on many factors. Often the full impact is not seen or felt until many years after the event, but one thing is certain; oil spills are bad news for the environment.