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Wildlife & Habitat

View down refuge marsh / USFWS

Located on the upper Texas Coast near the Louisiana border, Texas Point National wildlife Refuge encompasses 8,972 acres of saline to brackish marsh, consisting of tidal flats, shallow freshwater lakes and ponds and a marsh strongly influenced by the daily tides.

 
The refuge’s southern boundary extends more than six miles along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. The shallow Gulf of Mexico waters, tidal flats, and marshes provide important shallow water feeding, breeding and nesting habitat utilized by killdeer, black-necked stilt and willet. This transition from land to sea is where you will find a combination of vegetation that thrives in the saline environment, including saltmeadow cordgrass, camphor weed, and gulf croton. The salt-tolerant plants not only diminish the impacts of waves, currents and tides, they filter pollutants and provide habitat for hermit crab and juvenile flounder. Moving inland, the fresh and saltwater begin to mix. These brackish waters are nurseries for young fish and are teeming with blue crab and shellfish, food sources for egrets, herons and other wildlife.

Interspersed with the refuge’s marshes is slightly elevated fan-shaped salty prairie known as ‘cheniers.’ The cheniers were once the actual shoreline and generally run parallel to the Gulf of Mexico or as alluvial deposits at the mouths of rivers. The elevated ridges support grasses, forbs, and some woody vegetation creating small coastal woodlots. During spring migration, these wooded areas are especially important to the neotropical migrants, small colorful birds migrating to and from Central and South America, often flying an exhausting 600 miles across the Gulf of Mexico. When the birds finally arrive, they find freshwater and shelter among the refuge’s wetlands and cheniers.

Texas Point Refuge has been designated by the American Bird Conservancy as Globally Important Bird Areas of the United States.

Page Photo Credits — View down refuge marsh / USFWS
Last Updated: Sep 27, 2013
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