Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1994 to protect a remnant of the bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem along the Trinity River. The Refuge is currently at almost 25,000 acres and continues to grow. It is one of only 14 priority-one bottomland sites identified for protection in the Texas Bottomland Protection Plan. Additionally, this refuge is located within the Gulf Coast Joint Venture Project Area of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and, as such, is highly valuable for a diversity of waterfowl species. This type of habitat is used during migration or nesting by nearly 50 percent of the neotropical migratory bird species listed by the Service. Bottomland hardwood forests also support abundant populations of white-tailed deer, squirrels, numerous other furbearers, freshwater turtles, alligators, snakes, river otters, and bald eagle. Although not fully surveyed, the refuge contains more than 650 plant species and 400 vertebrate species.
Wildlife-oriented recreational opportunities available at the Trinity River NWR include fishing, hunting, photography, and general nature observation. Most of these recreational opportunities are permitted on numerous public use areas throughout the Refuge. Many other tracts found on the Refuge are currently closed to the public due to lack of access, roads, and facilities.