The Houston Ship Channel is reopening to all traffic today, following that barge collision last weekend which dumped 170,000 gallons of thick tar-oil into the waterway south of Houston.


  The oil has begun drifting across the Gulf of Mexico, but it appears quick thinking by Texas Parks and Wildlife officials have enabled the oil to miss the sensitive Coastal Bend areas of the Matagorda Bay and Aransas Wildlife Refuges.


  "At this point there is no indication that it has caused any serious problems to wildlife," Mike Cox of TDPW told 1200 WOAI news.


  He says booms were placed at the mouth of Matagorda Bay, which includes some of the most ecologically sensitive marsh lands in the state.  He says the oil is being diverted to Matagorda Island.


  "There have been no reports of any oily wildlife in the Matagorda Bay area, no issues involving wildlife at this time," he said.


  Cox said the prevailing southerly winds, which are bringing warmer and dryer weather to San Antonio, will also push the oil tot he north, which will also prevent it from flowing southwest toward Rockport and Aransas Bay, which is home to the country's large migrating whooping crane colony, as well as other protected birds.