Response efforts continue on South Matagorda Island

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PORT O’CONNOR, Texas — While weather conditions have slowed today’s early work along South Matagorda Island response crews report additional progress in collecting oiled sand and oiled debris from impacted areas on Saturday.

Conditions are expected to improve as the day develops, allowing clean-up teams to resume more normal efforts during the afternoon.

An estimated 219,025 pounds of oiled material has been bagged throughSaturday, comprised of 108,670 pounds on South Matagorda, 105,830 pounds on Mustang and 4525 at Padre Island National Seashore. A total of 441 response contractors are poised to resume work along the shorelines as the weather clears.

Response crews continue cleanup operations on South Matagorda Island, Texas, April 5, 2014. Coordination between oil recovery crews, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Coast Guard and the Texas general land Office has been critical to balancing the expediency of clean-up efforts with the special sensitivity of protecting wildlife and the island’s fragile environment. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class George Degener.

Response crews continue cleanup operations on South Matagorda Island, Texas, April 5, 2014. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class George Degener.

Wildlife agency representatives continue their vigilance over impacts on bird and marine life in the area. Coordination between oil recovery crews, U. S. Fish and Wildlife, Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office has been critical to balancing the expediency of clean-up efforts with the special sensitivity of protecting wildlife and the islands’ fragile environment.

At this time of year the Texas shoreline is one of the most important locations for migratory birds returning north to their nesting grounds. Hundreds of thousands of an estimated 330 different kinds of birds follow the Texas coast where they stop to feed and rest during their migration. Migration can be a very dangerous time for the birds and they must gain enough body weight to safely and successfully reach their destination, which for some is as far north as the Arctic. Efforts are being made to ensure the birds can safely feed and rest with the least amount of disturbance.

Click the photo for more from the cleanup operation on South Matagorda Island

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