Oil reaches Matagorda Island coast - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Oil reaches Matagorda Island coast

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The Unified Command for the Texas City Y Response team confirms that oil spilled on Saturday in Galveston Bay has made landfall on Matagorda Island.

The response team, which includes including the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and Kirby Inland Marine, has begun its effort to clean affected areas and prevent more landfall.

The oil moved ashore overnight onto Matagorda Island, driven by winds and seas from the southeast. 

Flights above the area confirmed on Friday that the oil impacted almost 12 miles of beach on Matagorda Island, south of Matagorda Island State Park. The oil was driven ashore by rolling breakers.

Protective booming across Saluria Bayou and Big Bayou helped prevent the flow oil into Espiritu Santo Bay.

The NOAA projects that much of the oil will be stranded on the Matagorda Island beach and will analyze flight observations to project whether there will be any future movement of oil remaining offshore.

More than 150 field response personnel with 12 response vessels have worked to deploy and adjust more than 16,000 feet of protective boom. They are supported by 96 command post personnel. Responders have staged 48,600 feet of containment boom and 80,000 feet of absorbent boom.

Once the sun rises on Saturday, responders will attack the oil deposited on the Matagorda Island beach, starting with the areas of heaviest oil concentration at the southern end of the affected area, which is only accessible by boat through the shallow waters of the inshore bays. 

The public is discouraged from visiting the island until the Unified Command announces that response operations are complete.

A wildlife rehabilitation facility has been established in Port O'Connor at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Coastal Fisheries Laboratory, to assist in the event that birds or marine life are impacted by the oil. Anyone who observes any impacted wildlife should not attempt to capture or handle them but are encouraged to call 888-384-2000. The facility has not received reports of wildlife affected by the spill.

For anyone with questions in regard to personal impact by the incident, can call submit claims by phone at 855-276-1575.

The U.S. Coast Guard lifted the safety zone at 10 a.m. on Friday, which had been in effect for the Matagorda Ship Channel from the sea buoy to the intersection of the ship channel with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The zone lift allows normal maritime commerce to resume in the waterway.

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