Texas National Wildlife Refuges Grow by Nearly 6,000 Acres in 2022
“In 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added nearly 6,000 acres of public land to the National Wildlife Refuge System in Texas. This brings the total number of Service-managed lands in the state to nearly 700,000 acres at 21 National Wildlife Refuges and three National Fish Hatcheries.
The acquisitions protect a variety of ecosystems across the state, including Columbia bottomlands habitat on the mid-Texas coast, freshwater wetlands on the upper Texas coast, bottomland hardwood and pine forest habitat in East Texas, and Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
“We are grateful for all of the partners who assisted us in acquiring and conserving these extraordinary properties for the benefit of wildlife and the American people,” said Amy Lueders, the Service’s Southwest Regional Director. “Each of these acquisitions protects a unique piece of the Texas landscape along with the resident and migratory wildlife that call it home. I encourage everyone to visit a National Wildlife Refuge to experience these wondrous places in person.”
At San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge on the mid-Texas coast, the Service acquired nearly 5,000 acres of Columbia Bottomlands habitat for the benefit of resident and migratory wildlife on two separate tracts of land. Columbia Bottomlands habitat is a critically important area for millions of migrating birds that use it as a staging area between wintering habitats in the Caribbean and South America and breeding habitats in North America. In addition to being a major migratory stopover and resting area for Nearctic-Neotropical migratory birds, Columbia Bottomlands habitat supports resident reptiles, amphibians and mammals like swamp rabbits, white-tailed deer, red-eared slider turtles, and wood ducks. The refuge is also a place for people to enjoy nature and the outdoors through wildlife watching, photography, hunting, fishing, and environmental education programs.
At McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge on the upper Texas Coast,the Service acquired a 415.50-acre portion of the Sabine Ranch. Located 75 miles east of Houston, the 12,376-acre Sabine Ranch is a critical component of the largest contiguous fresh and intermediate tidal marsh system in Texas. Multiple federal, state and private organizations have identified the Sabine Ranch as a high-value wintering waterfowl area. The coastal wetland and prairies also benefit many species of grassland and migratory birds, including mottled ducks and the threatened eastern black rail. The protection of the Sabine Ranch also helps provide a coastal buffer for hurricanes and storm surges.”
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