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Bird nesting likely safe from oil spill danger

Bird nesting likely safe from oil spill
Posted at 7:56 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-13 13:00:04-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — One of the first concerns when an oil spill occurs is the marine life and the environment. An expert at the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP) said things could have been much worse had the state agencies not responded so quickly.

Just north of North Beach, along Highway 181, is a small island. Not one that locals or tourists visit, but a place that’s important to bird migration and nesting

For David Newstead, director of coastal bird program at CBBEP, it’s been one island he’s kept a close eye since the oil spill.

“There was a great deal of concern that oil would wash up on that island," he said. "I’m not aware that any significant oil did occur on that island.”

Newstead hasn’t received any reports, of areas crucial to bird nesting, that were damaged.

He attributes that to the timely response of those that are working on cleanup and that is the Coast Guard, General Land Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Flint Hills Resources.

“The state’s response teams responded pretty quickly," said Newstead. "I don’t know exactly how much, they put thousands and thousands of feet of absorbent boom around to protect sensitive habitats.”

Andy Saenz of Flint Hills Resources said it was 60,000 feet of boom that was put in the bay.

“We would have multiple meetings all day long," Saenz said speaking about cleanup information. "We were physically in the same room together and they could hear all of the different discussions that were going on. So, the information was constant.”

Saenz said since the spill, testing of all kinds has been going on to determine if there’s danger to people or wildlife.

“Air monitors in the community, throughout the area. We were testing water, we were testing the sand. We were testing the material we were picking up to see how, was it dangerous,” said Saenz, public affairs director for Flint Hills Resources.

Saenz said at no time did they feel there was danger. Newstead said water birds should be plenty safe when the bulk of nesting season begins in February.

Testing will continue as well as visual assessments.

Saenz said if you notice anything related to the oil spill, you're encouraged to report it at the Ingleside Response Center at 361-396-2831. Or if you need to make a claim with Flint Hills you can do so at 1-800-254-1122.

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