What We Do

The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the refuge system. It drives everything we do from the purpose a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge.

Management and Conservation

Bahia Grande is considered one of the largest and most successful coastal wetland restoration projects in the United States. In 2005, a pilot channel was constructed that connected the Brownsville Ship Channel to the Bahia Grande and the waters began flowing into the main basin and refilling the wetland. In 2007, two interior channels were cut that reconnected the larger basin to two smaller interior basins – the Laguna Larga and the Little Laguna Madre. This ensured natural tidal flow and exchange throughout the whole system. With the hydrology restored, the tidally affected lagoon system is once again an important nursery for finfish such as red drum, and shellfish such as shrimp and blue crab. The interior islands are attracting breeding waterbirds such as gull-billed terns, skimmers and more recently the first nesting pair of brown pelicans in south Texas since the 1920’s. 

Law Enforcement

Federal wildlife law enforcement officers patrol the refuge to ensure the safety of the public and the protection of natural resources. They address many illegal activities, including taking of endangered species, dumping of trash, illegal use of all terrain vehicles, trespassing and more.  
To report a violation on refuge lands during the daytime (6:00am to 8:00pm), please call: (956)784-7520  

Laws and Regulations

  •  Alcohol is not permitted.  
  • Driving, biking, or hiking off-road or off-trail is prohibited 
  • Observe speed limits of 25 mph or as posted.  
  • No overnight parking is allowed at any other Refuge location 
  • Pets must be on a leash.