Matagorda Island Unit


Matagorda Island is a barrier island situated along the coastal bend of Texas in Calhoun County and part of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. 

The Island is a significant natural area. It is 56,683 acres in size and stretches 38 miles long, varying from .75 to 4.5 miles in width. Approximately 30,000 of those acres are uplands and the remaining 26,000 acres are salt marsh, tidal flats, and Gulf beaches. Matagorda’s orientation is northeast-southwest with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and Espiritu Santo Bay on the other.

In 1994, a revised Memorandum of Agreement with the State of Texas combined the Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuge and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s State Natural Area. It is managed as a unit of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and is an overlay to a state Wildlife Management Area. Our partner, Texas Parks and Wildlife, has the lead responsibility for public use management on the Island and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge has the lead responsibility for the wildlife and habitat management. It was established to support the national migratory bird management program and to conserve endangered species.

There is no public means of accessing the Island and it is this isolation that provides an unparalleled opportunity for protection of its bountiful natural resources. The remoteness is also what makes Matagorda Island attractive as it offers a unique opportunity to experience the amazing coastal barrier island ecosystem.