U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Laguna Atascosa
National Wildlife Refuge


22817 Ocelot Road
Los Fresnos, TX   78566
E-mail: Marion_Mason@fws.gov
Phone Number: 956-748-3607
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/laguna_atascosa/
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  Overview
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
On the most southern tip of Texas, along the shores of the Laguna Madre, dense patches of thorny brush rise among unique wind-blown clay dunes called “lomas.” In a region of Texas some call the last great habitat, thorn forest intermingles with freshwater wetlands, coastal prairies, mudflats and beaches. Here, the endangered ocelot silently hunts within the brushlands, white-tailed deer browse on a banquet of plants, Aplomado Falcons soar above the grasslands and nearly half of all the bird species found in the continental United States rest, feed, nest and or migrate.



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Wildlife and Habitat

Laguna Atascosa NWR provides a variety of habitats which supports an incredible diversity of wildlife. The thorny entanglement of dense brush habitat is home to such creatures as the endangered ocelot and Plain Chachalaca.

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History
When the Spanish explorer Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda arrived in the Rio Grande Valley in 1519 he found a landscape very different from what we see today. The area was abundant with wildlife, and three million acres of coastal prairies and brushlands covered the landscape. Doves darkened the sky, deer browsed along the edges of brushlands and ducks filled the bays near the coast.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Fishing
Hunting
Interpretation
Photography
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge uses various management techniques to ensure wildlife will always have habitat.

Irrigation and drainage have reduced the amount of water flowing into the Refuge so water is trapped in ponds, resacas (old oxbows of the Rio Grande), and the Refuge's namesake lake, Laguna Atascosa. These fresh waters are held between rains. Various birds require different depths to feed so levels are adjusted throughout the year to benefit both ducks and wading birds.

The Refuge farms various crops to benefit wintering geese and Sandhill Cranes. Annual grasses between plantings provide food and shelter for small birds and mammals, which are food for larger mammals and hawks. In addition, the Refuge plants old farm fields in native brush for ocelot and other wildlife.

While working to re-establish brushland where it belongs, the Refuge also maintains grasslands for those species that depend on them. Occasional prescribed burns increase the nutritional content of the grass and reduce invading brush.