Welcome to the South Unit of Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge!

This property extends all the way to the intracoastal canal and is immediately adjacent to the main portion of the refuge.  It also consists of approximately 2,500 acres of wetlands and 3 linear miles of beach.

Did you know that turtles nest here?

It’s true!Although the beach you are standing on is a bit too coarse for sea turtles to dig their nests, if they can find an area with fine sand they will crawl up near the dunes and lay their eggs before returning to sea.  This "flippers-off" approach to parenting might seem a bit unconventional, but it is the way that they have done things for millions of years.It is just important that we help keep this habitat intact.

What can you do to help?

Stay off of the dunes please.

There are many reasons that it is important to only use intentional beach access points and to never ever drive on these dunes.They serve as a natural barrier that (in this area) protects the wetlands from erosion during tropical storms and hurricanes, they serve as a source of replenishment for the beach following a storm, and when left untouched they will grow vegetation which will substantiate the soil and create a stronger, more permanent, barrier between the storms and the people that live in this area.

A large sea turtle swimming along a reef

Loggerheads were named for their relatively large heads, which support powerful jaws and enable them to feed on hard-shelled prey, such as whelks and conch. The carapace (top shell) is slightly heart-shaped and reddish-brown in adults and sub-adults, while the plastron (bottom shell) is...

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A green sea turtle swims along the bottom of the reef.

The green sea turtle grows to a maximum size of about 4 feet and a weight of 440 pounds. It has a heart-shaped shell, small head, and single-clawed flippers. Color is variable. Hatchlings generally have a black carapace, white plastron, and white margins on the shell and limbs. The adult...

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A hawksbill sea turtle, showing its distinctive tortoiseshell pattern across head, flippers, and carapace, swims above coral through bright blue water.

The endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle is one of seven species of sea turtles found throughout the world. One of the smaller sea turtles, it has overlapping scutes (plates) that are thicker than those of other sea turtles. This protects them from being battered against sharp coral and rocks during...

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A greenish brown sea turtle laying on the beach

The Kemp's ridley turtle is the smallest of the sea turtles, with adults reaching about 2 feet in length and weighing up to 100 pounds. The adult Kemp's ridley has an oval carapace that is almost as wide as it is long and is usually olive-gray in color. The carapace has five pairs of costal...

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A scaly, dark-grey reptile hatchling, partially covered in sand on a beach

The leatherback is the largest, deepest diving, and most migratory and wide ranging of all sea turtles. The adult leatherback can reach 4 to 8 feet in length and 500 to 2000 pounds in weight. Its shell is composed of a mosaic of small bones covered by firm, rubbery skin with seven longitudinal...

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The upper Gulf Coast also provides excellent fishing opportunities!

Whether you are surf-fishing (fishing from the shore with large fishing rods while using bait as an attractant) or wade-fishing (fishing in the water with artificial or live bait with smaller rods) there is a wide variety of salt-water fish which can be found in this area.  The three most targeted species are listed below.

It is important to always be aware of currents, jellyfish, stingrays, and sharks.  

Is there anything else that lives here?

Of course!There are hundreds of species of birds that can be found right where you are standing at different times of the year.There are even some species of birds which nest here, such as: Wilson’s plovers, least terns, black skimmers, willets, and killdeers.There are bird nesting signs in sections along the beach and it is important to give them their space during the spring and summer months.

Below you will find a list of shorebirds, gulls, terns and other birds which can be found here for most of the year.  This list does not include waterfowl, wading-birds and some other species which can be found on our Shoveler Pond Information Page.  For a complete list of birds which have been seen in this area you can visit this "e-bird" link.

A white and black bird with long legs and a long curved beak standing on snowy ground

The Long-billed curlew is a large, long-legged shorebird with a very long, decurved bill. Body plumage is rich buff throughout tinged with cinnamon or pink, and with upperparts streaked and barred with dark brown; underwing-lining contrasting cinnamon, and upper surface of remiges contrasting...

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A brown and white marbled bird with long narrow dark legs and a slender beak that is orange half it's length, then turns a dark color

Marbled Godwits are large shorebirds that have a slightly upturned bill with a dark tip and pinkish base, long legs, and are rich buff-brown all over. In addition to having cinnamon wing linings and an orangish stripe in their wings, their breeding plumage consists of barring across their chest...

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A shorebird with various brown colors in it's feathers and a long narrow beak feeding at low tide

The Short-billed Dowitcher is a medium-sized shorebird with a bill twice as long as its head. It has moderately long, pale legs. Juvenile plumage includes a buffy chest and flanks, less spotting and barring than breeding adults. The back feathers are dark centered with broad buffy edges, giving...

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Bird wading in water.

Lesser Yellowlegs are medium-sized, slender, long-legged shorebirds. Sexes are similar in plumage and overall size, but females have slightly longer wings on average. In breeding plumage, upperparts mottled gray-brown, white, and black. Underparts white with brown streaking on neck and breast...

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California least tern flying. A plain, dark blue sky in the background.

Least terns are the smallest member of the gull and tern family. They are approximately 9" in length. Unlike gulls, terns will dive into the water for small fish. The body of least terns is predominately gray and white, with black streaking on the head. Least terns have a forked tail and narrow...

A Black Skimmer flying at the top of the water scooping up food with it's beak.

Adult Black Skimmers are a medium-sized to large waterbird with a long red and black bill, the lower half being the longest. They also possess a black back and cap, white underparts, very short red legs, and long, pointed wings. Juveniles are similar to adults, but have a mottled black-and-white...

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