Search Continues for Wildlife Affected by Oil Spill

Oil Spill Update — 1 p.m. March 31, 2014

State parks at Galveston and Mustang Island remain open to beachgoers and anglers as TPWD personnel continue to assist in the search and recovery of any wildlife affected by the March 22 oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel. Most of the oil has been onshore at Matagorda Island since last Thursday, and contractor crews are at work removing it from the beach and other areas.

A wildlife rehabilitation facility has been established in Port O’Connor at the TPWD Coastal Fisheries Laboratory, to assist in the event that birds or marine life are impacted by the oil.  Persons who observe any impacted wildlife should not attempt to capture or handle them but are urged to call 888-384-2000.

For specific information on the ongoing efforts to deal with the spill, contact the Unified Command Joint Information Center at Port O’Connor at 214-225-8007.

Oil Spill Update — 4:15 p.m. March 27, 2014

Oil from the weekend spill in the Houston ship channel has moved south and is currently coming ashore on Matagorda Island. So far, however, TPWD has received no reports of any oiled birds or other adverse impact to wildlife.

Anyone who sees any oiled wildlife is asked not to touch the animal, but to report the sighting by calling 888-384-2000.

TPWD biologists, along with other state and federal personnel, are continuing to monitor conditions in the areas affected by the oil spill.

For the latest information from the U.S. Coast Guard, which is coordinating the response effort, visit

News media may call 214-225-8007 or 713-435-1505.

March 24, 2014 — This is an ongoing event. Information will be updated regularly.

Media Contact: TPWD News Business Hours, 512-389-8030

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Original Release March 24, 2014 — Updated Regularly

Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.

(This news release was first issued March 24, 2014. Updates are added to the top of the release.)

AUSTIN –Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel are continuing to look for wildlife affected following the Saturday oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel.

As of Sunday, three birds were taken to a private wildlife rehabilitation service field station for rehabilitation and three birds were found dead. More oiled birds are expected to be found.

Monday, teams of state and federal biologists were checking eastern Galveston Island, Pelican Island and the Bolivar peninsula looking for other affected wildlife.

According to TPWD personnel on the scene, Bolivar Flats is currently a potential hotspot, since it is a significant refuge for birds.  Expectations are that oiled birds will fly there and with decreasing temperatures, more impact on birds is expected. High tides could impact further as habitats become inundated.

In addition to the field work underway,TWPD staff are participating in the incident command operation in Texas City and assisting with response activities for reported impacted wildlife.

How the public can help

  • Don’t pick up or try to assist any oiled wildlife, including birds or marine animals. 
  • If anyone observes impacted wildlife, please call 888-384-2000.

Video of the Galveston oil spill initial impact on wildlife at For a high resolution download, go to

For updates

Media inquiries about the oil spill response should be directed to the Joint Incident Command at (409) 978-2788 or by email to: