TEXAS CITY, Texas (CNN/KHOU) — An oil spill in Galveston Bay is affecting coastal wildlife in Texas and blocking traffic in the Gulf of Mexico.
Thousands of birds are faced with this: oil in the water and on the shoreline.
A barge collided with a ship on Saturday, spilling what’s believed to be about 4,000 barrels of oil into the shipping channel.
It’s the height of migration season, and wildlife officials say those birds use the area as a refuge during spring migration. That refuge has now been marked by the spilled oil.
“We want there to be a healthy and productive place for them to come feed and rest, and having oil on the shoreline is not a healthy, productive place,” said Helen Drummond, Houston Audubon Society executive director.
The spill and clean-up is also delaying the docking of several cruise ships returning to port in Galveston Bay.
The second-largest oil spill in U.S. history, the Exxon Valdez spill on March 24, 1989 was the largest tanker oil spill — unleashing 10 million gallons into the ocean.
The largest oil spill in U.S. history was the April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The off-shore rig let out 210 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico.