The Coast Guard could soon reopen the Houston Ship Channel that was the scene of an oil spill over the weekend.


The channel is one of the nation's busiest seaports.


Coast Guard Warrant Officer Kimberly Smith says the goal is to reopen part of it sometime Monday. The closure has forced more than 80 ships to wait to enter or leave the bay.


Smith says officials are still trying to determine how much oil spilled Saturday, when a barge carrying about 900,000 gallons collided with a ship. Authorities initially said as much as a fifth of the barge's cargo spilled.


The spill also suspended state-operated ferry service between Galveston and Port Bolivar, affecting thousands of travelers.


The Houston Audubon Society and federal agencies are working to save over 50 birds found covered in oil near a large spill.


The birds were discovered this morning in the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary by the Houston Ship Channel.


Audubon members say the spill came at the worst time because spring migration season is in full effect. They're worried about the birds' health, especially if they eat the oil.


The public is reminded to refrain from capturing any potentially affected wildlife and is urged to contact Wildlife Response Service at 1-888-384-2000.


For claims, call (855) 276-1275.