National Wildlife Refuge
|601 FM 1011
Liberty, TX 77575
Phone Number: 936-336-9786
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|Anders Pond is one of the bottomland hardwood areas found at Trinity River NWR.|
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge was established on January 4, 1994 with an initial purchase of 4,400 acres. Since that time, the refuge has acquired additional acreage which now totals 25,000 acres. The primary purpose of establishing this refuge is to protect a portion of the bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem along the Trinity River located in southeastern Texas. The refuge, which is a remnant of what was once a much larger natural area is a broad flat floodplain made up of numerous sloughs, oxbow lakes, artesian wells, and tributaries.
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The invasion of the highly aggressive Chinese tallow tree throughout the refuge is a cause for concern. This exotic tree can alter the native habitat within a few years, so it must be controlled using herbicides. This is also the case with Giant Salvinia, an exotic water fern, that was found in Champion Lake during 2000. Although Salvinia is not found in this lake anymore due to floods washing it away, it is found on many other small ponds on and off the refuge that are completely covered by the fern. There is no easy way to control this aggressive exotic. The same can be said for another exotic species, the feral hog, which is causing major damage to native habitat on the refuge.
Tree planting is another management tool utilized at the refuge. When tracts are purchased, some are devoid of trees because of prior agricultural uses. Since 1995, over 70,000 oak, ash, and cypress bare-root seedlings have been planted throughout the refuge. Although our primary reason for planting is to restore a bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem, there are some secondary benefits. Since these areas are preserved in perpetuity, these plantings serve as a great way to sequester carbon, a major cause of greenhouse gases.
The refuge plays host to the Rafinesque’s big-eared bat, a state-threatened species. These cavity roosting bats require hollow trees to survive cold in the winter and raise their pups in the early summer. Older tupelo and cypress trees found on the refuge provide at least 10 known roosting sites in the relatively young forest, however the approximately 100 bats spend most of their time in artificial roost structures shaped like towers provided by Bat Conservation International for the refuge. These towers are where the bats spend most of their time as the species waits for the forest to grow older and provide more hollow trees. Refuge staff takes advantage of the easy-to-access towers by regularly counting the bats, tagging, and radiotracking. The radiotracking efforts help study the maternity colony, allowing us to learn more about the little known habits of this rare and mysterious bat.