Mid-Coast Wetland Sites

The Mid-Coast is broken down further into the following areas:

COASTAL PRAIRIE

COLORADO RIVER DELTA / MATAGORDA BAY

LAVACA RIVER & BAY

GUADALUPE RIVER / SAN ANTONIO BAY / MATAGORDA ISLAND

MISSION & ARANSAS RIVERS

COPANO / ARANSAS / REDFISH BAYS

MUSTANG ISLAND

CORPUS CHRISTI BAY AREA

NUECES RIVER & BAY

 

COASTAL PRAIRIE

ATTWATER PRAIRIE CHICKEN NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

APC_520x289

Source: USFWS

Owner: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 409/234-3021
Nearest Town: Eagle Lake Size: 8,385 acres

Wetlands: Riverine forested- bottomland hardwoods Prairie pothole and marsh- marshes in impoundments, potholes

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, picnicking, special events, auto and hiking trails

Description: Bottomland forest on San Bernard River. Wintering waterfowl use the marshes. Five auto and 2 walking trails, limited picnic facilities. Open year-round every day during daylight hours including auto tour routes and Sycamore and Pipit Trails. Headquarters open 7:30 am – 4 pm, Mon.- Fri. Remnant population of Attwater’s Greater Prairie Chicken.

Directions: From Eagle Lake, go northeast 7 mi. on FM 3013 to entrance. From Sealy on I-10, go south on TX 36 to FM 3013, then west 10 mi. to entrance. Hdqrtrs. 2 mi. west of entrance

D.R. WINTERMANN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA

Owner: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. 409/532-2170
Nearest Town: Eagle Lake Size: 246 acres

Wetlands: Prairie pothole and marsh- Lissie Formation potholes

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, guided tours

Description: Area has 8 natural prairie potholes, and was donated as a migratory waterfowl refuge. Access to the area is restricted and must be arranged by contacting the manager. No facilities. Contact manager about access permit requirements.

Directions: Area located off FM 102 near Bonus in Wharton County. Contact manager for details.

TEXAS R. I. C. E. / PIERCE RANCH

Owner: Private 409/534-0100
Nearest Town: El Campo

Wetlands: Prairie pothole and marsh- potholes (Beaumont Formation); rice fields

Recreation: wildlife viewing

Description: The Texas Rice Industry Coalition for the Environment has created waterbird-viewing sites on the historic Pierce Ranch in Wharton County. The sites consist of viewable rice fields flooded for waterfowl habitat during the winter months. The sites are well marked, open to the public (no fee), and can be accessed from the roadside.

Directions: From Wharton, go southwest on US 59 (toward El Campo) to Pierce. Just past Pierce, exit 59 onto Pierce West Rd., go south 4 mi. to viewing sites.

COLORADO RIVER DELTA / MATAGORDA BAY

BIG BOGGY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Owner: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 409/849-6062
Nearest Town: Wadsworth Size: 4,127 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarsh and mudflats

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, waterfowl hunting

Description: Restricted access to the refuge. Contact refuge staff in Angleton about periodic day trips. Drive past the refuge on Chinquapin Road to Chinquapin Landing to view saltmarshes and Live Oak Bayou. No facilities at refuge.

Directions: From intersection of TX 60 and FM 521 in Wadsworth (south of Bay City on TX 60), go east 2.9 mi. on FM 521 to Chinquapin Rd. Turn right (south) and go 7 mi. on Chinquapin Rd. to refuge. Chinquapin Landing is at the end of the road.

MATAGORDA COUNTY JETTY PARK

Owner: Matagorda County Nearest Town: Matagorda

Wetlands: Estuarine-tidal saltmarshes and mud flats

Recreation: wildlife viewing, fishing, beach activities

Description: The road from Matagorda follows the Colorado River to the Gulf, and the saltmarshes on East Matagorda Bay are adjacent to the road. Numerous pull-offs along the road. Excellent birdwatching area, fishing pier on the beach at the end of the road. No fee.

Directions: From Bay City, go south about 20 mi. on TX 60 to Matagorda. Turn left (south) on FM 2031 and follow the Colorado River about 6.6 mi. to Gulf.

MAD ISLAND WMA & CLIVE RUNNELLS FAMILY MAD ISLAND MARSH PRESERVE

Owners: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. (WMA) 361/576-0022
The Nature Conservancy of Texas (Preserve) 361/972-2559
Nearest Town: Collegeport Size: 7,281 acres (WMA); 7,048 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes and mud flats
Prairie pothole and marsh- marshes in managed impoundments, rice fields

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, hunting (WMA)

Description: The Preserve runs the Mad Island Environmental Education Program to educate people about the valuable coastal environment they live in. Visitation to both areas is on an appointment only basis. No facilities or potable water on the WMA; contact area manager for details on access permits.

Directions: From Bay City, go west 12 mi. on TX 35 to FM 1095. Go south about 13 mi. on FM 1095 to Brazos Tower Rd. Turn left on Brazos Tower and go 2 mi. to Franzen Rd. Turn left on Franzen and follow signs to both areas.

TRULL MARSH

Owner: City of Palacios 1-800-611-4567
Nearest Town: Palacios

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes and mud flats

Recreation: wildlife viewing

Description: Shallow lagoons along the road extend for two city blocks north of the intersection of Business 35/1st Street and Bayshore Drive. Trull Marsh is on the west side of the road. Saltmarsh and flats fringe the lagoons. Good birding from the observation deck on 2nd Street. No fee.

Directions: In Palacios, along west side of Business 35/1st Street north of Bayshore Dr.

TEXAS STATE MARINE EDUCATION CENTER

Owner: Matagorda County Navigation District # 1 361/972-3774
Nearest Town: Palacios Size: 125 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarsh and mud flats

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, hiking, marine biology classes

Description: Once part of Camp Hulen, the Matagorda County Navigation District # 1 has converted 207 acres into an educational center that specializes in marine science. The Nature Trail includes interpretive signs and an observation deck surrounded by tidal saltmarsh fringing Tres Palacios Bay. Please call the office for gate hours; check in at office. No fee.

Directions: In Palacios, from the intersection of Business 35 and Margerum Rd., go west on B-35 0.6 mi. to Camp Hulen Rd. Turn left (south) on Camp Hulen Rd., go 0.7 mi. to entrance. Nature Trails start on both sides of the pier.

LAVACA RIVER & BAY

LAKE TEXANA STATE PARK

Source: TPWD

Owner: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. 361/782-5718
Nearest Town: Edna Size: 575 acres

Wetlands: Riverine forested- bottomland hardwoods

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, camping, boating, canoeing, hiking, fishing, swimming, interpretive programs

Description: Full facilities. Most of the park consists of Navidad River hardwood bottomlands dominated by pecan, elms, and oaks. Nature Center and Interpretive Area for special programs; interpretive programs for groups by special arrangement. There is a 1.3- mile hiking/nature trail. Entrance and camping fees.

Directions: From Edna in Jackson County, go east 6.5 mi. on TX 111.

LAVACA / NAVIDAD ESTUARY OVERLOOK

Owner: Texas Dept. of Transportation 361/782-2322
Nearest Town: Lolita

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes (brackish)

Recreation: wildlife viewing

Description: Site is an observation platform on FM 616 overlooking the marshes of the Lavaca/Navidad estuary. Both brackish and freshwater marshes occur here. Excellent birding. Due to road construction, this site may be unavailable until spring 2000.

Directions: From Edna, take US 59 west to FM 234, turn left (south) on 234 and go 10 mi. to Vanderbilt. Turn left (east) on FM 616 and go to pull-off at river.

PORT LAVACA BIRD SANCTUARY

Owner: City of Port Lavaca 361/552-2912
Nearest Town: Port Lavaca

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarsh

Recreation: wildlife viewing, camping, fishing

Description: Site is called Lighthouse Beach and Bird Sanctuary. Campground and fishing pier have fees; bird sanctuary does not. Walk out into the saltmarsh on the Formosa Wetlands Walkway to the Alcoa Birding Tower. Marshes can also be accessed on the east end (Point Comfort) of the Lavaca Bay Bridge.

Directions: From Port Lavaca, go east on TX 35 and exit to the right on TX 238 just before the Lavaca Bay Bridge. Look for the lighthouse. Cross the bridge and drive onto the old causeway for east-end wetlands.

MAGNOLIA BEACH

Owner: Calhoun County 1-800-556-7678, 361/552-9242
Nearest Town: Magnolia Beach

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes and flats

Recreation: wildlife viewing, hiking, beach activities

Description: Saltmarshes and flats come right up to the road between Magnolia Beach and the LaSalle Monument, along Old Town Lake. Park in pull-offs along the road. Rice fields can be seen on the drive from Port Lavaca.

Directions: From Port Lavaca, go west on TX 35 to intersection with FM 2433. Turn left (south) and go to intersection with TX 238, turn right on 238 and go a short distance to intersection with TX 316. Go straight on 316 to FM 2760, turn left on 2760 to Magnolia Beach.

GUADALUPE RIVER / SAN ANTONIO BAY / MATAGORDA ISLAND

MATAGORDA ISLAND SP & WMA

Owner: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Manager: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. 361/983-2215
Nearest Town: Port O’Connor Size: 43,893 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes and flats
Barrier island interior- marshes (interdunal and on flats)

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, camping, hiking/biking, beach activities, fishing, nature study, passenger ferry, on-island shuttle, scheduled tours

Description: This site is a practically pristine barrier island with extensive estuarine wetlands on the bay side and inland freshwater marshes. Staff-conducted historical and natural history programs and tours are available. Contact park to arrange a group program. Group barracks can be rented on Fri. and Sat. nights. Entrance, tour, camping, and ferry fees. Contact park for ferry schedule and facilities-use details.

Directions: Headquarters in Port O’Connor at the intersection of 16th Street and the Intracoastal Waterway. Access to the island by boat only; ferry operates Thurs.- Sun.

WELDER FLATS WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA

Owner: Texas General Land Office
Manager: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. 409/244-7697
Nearest Town: Seadrift Size: 1,480 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes and flats, seagrass beds

Recreation: wildlife viewing, fishing, waterfowl hunting

Description: Site consists only of the shallow tidal waters controlled by the GLO. The upland shoreline is private property. Open year-round for day use. Endangered whooping cranes use this habitat. Contact manager for details on access permits.

Directions: Boat access only. Launch at Seadrift (public ramp at Swan Point Park) and go south on the Victoria Barge Canal to intersection with the Intracoastal Waterway.

GUADALUPE DELTA WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA

Owner: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. 361/576-0022
Nearest Town: Tivoli Size: 6,200 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes (brackish) and flats; managed impoundments Riverine forested- bottomland hardwoods

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, hiking/biking, fishing, hunting, auto tour, special events

Description: The Mission Lake Unit is basically freshwater marsh, and has forested riparian habitat along Goff and Hog Bayous. The Hynes Bay Unit is tidal saltmarsh and flats. Observation deck on TX 35 open year-round. No facilities or potable water on area. Visitors 17 years old or older must have one of several access permits; call for details and tour schedule.

Directions: From Port Lavaca, go west 12 mi. on TX 35. From Victoria, go 22 mi. southeast on TX 185 to TX 35. Turn right (south) on 35, go 1 mi.

DU PONT VICTORIA PLANT WETLAND

Owner: E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. 361/572-1153
Nearest Town: Bloomington Size: 53 acres

Wetlands: Prairie pothole and marsh- constructed, treated-wastewater marsh

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing; wetland and nature studies for school groups

Description: Treated wastewater from the chemical plant is polished by moving through the wetland before being returned to the Guadalupe River. The wetland features a Wetlab Education Center, observation blind, decks, walkways, boardwalk, and a pier. School groups can participate in a Wetland Environmental Science Education Encounter to find, observe, and identify wetland plants and animals. No fee.

Directions: From Victoria, go south on TX 185 about 5 mi. south of US 59. Turn right on Canal Rd., cross railroad tracks, turn left at stop sign onto Old Bloomington Rd. Go 0.5 mi. past the Wetland to DEAA entrance on right. Go to the Clubhouse on the right.

ENRON MATAGORDA ISLAND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH & EDUCATION CENTER

Owner: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 361/286-3559 or 3533
Cooperator: The Nature Conservancy of Texas 361/972-2559
Nearest Town: Austwell Size: 56,600 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes and flats Barrier island interior- marshes (interdunal and on flats)

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, ecological research and education

Description: The Center is on the southwestern end of Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuge and State Natural Area. Site offers “hands on” environmental education for high school and college students and teacher workshops on barrier island ecology, endangered species, and wildlife biodiversity. Day and overnight programs and facilities are available. Programs (including transportation) are scheduled through the Nature Conservancy.

Directions: Travel south on Hwy. 35 to Tivoli. Continue past Tivoli for approx. 1 mile to the FM 239 exit (on your left). Follow FM 239 to Austwell. When you enter Austwell, FM 239 turns into FM 774 at the curve. Continue on FM 774. Follow 774 & take a right at the stop sign. Go down the end of the street. Take a right again. This takes you out of town for about ½ mile to the FM 2040 turn. Go left on FM 2040 for about 6 miles to the Refuge gate. Go to the Visitor Center to register.

ARANSAS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Source: USFWS

Owner: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 361/286-3559 or 3533
Nearest Town: Austwell Size: 59,700 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes and flats Prairie pothole and marsh- Ingleside sand depressions

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, seasonal fishing, hiking/biking, picnicking, interpretive center, auto tour, 40-foot observation tower

Description: Refuge open daily during daylight hours; Center open daily 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Interpretive signs along the 16-mile, paved auto tour road explain wetland ecology. Several miles of walking trails. Freshwater marsh can be viewed from the Jones Lake platform. Tidal wetlands can be accessed from several locations and viewed from the tower. Contact refuge for more info. on environmental education.

Directions: From Rockport, go north about 20 mi. on TX 35. Turn right on FM 774, go about 9 mi. to FM 2040. Turn right and follow 2040 about 7 mi. to entrance.

MISSION & ARANSAS RIVERS

FENNESSEY RANCH

Owner: Private 361/529-6600
Nearest Town: Refugio Size: 4,000 acres

Wetlands: Lower coast riparian- hardwood corridor Prairie pothole and marsh- marshes

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, nature tours, hiking, hunting, fishing, boat tours

Description: Visitation must be arranged through Fennessey Ranch Nature Tours (phone # above). Ranch has 9 miles of frontage on the Mission River including riparian woodlands. Ranch has an excellent freshwater marsh. Fees for access and tours.

Directions: From Refugio, go east 2 mi. on FM 774 to intersection with FM 2678. Turn right (south) on 2678, go 4.6 mi. to ranch entrance.

LION’S / SHELLY PARK

Owner: City of Refugio 361/526-5337
Nearest Town: Refugio

Wetlands: Lower coast riparian – hardwood corridor

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, nature trails, fishing pier, park facilities

Description: This city park offers excellent birding in the forested wetlands along the Mission River. Nature trails are all about 0.6 mile long, cross over the park pond and wind through bottomlands. These riparian woodlands are islands of habitat in a sea of cropland and brush lands.

Directions: In Refugio, at the intersection of US 77 and FM 774, turn west, go 2 blocks and enter park.

WELDER WILDLIFE REFUGE

Owner: Rob & Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation 361/364-2643
Nearest Town: Sinton Size: 7,800 acres

Wetlands: Lower coast riparian- hardwood corridor Prairie pothole and marsh- marsh fringing ponds and lakes

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, guided tours

Description: The Welder Wildlife Foundation was created after the death of Robert M. Welder, who directed that the refuge be managed for the conservation of native wildlife. Aransas River riparian woodlands and other habitats support the diverse wildlife. Refuge is open for public tours every Thurs. at 3 pm (except holidays). Group tours at other times must be prearranged. No fee.

Directions: Refuge entrance is about 8 mi. north of Sinton on US 77.

COPANO / ARANSAS / REDFISH BAYS

EGERY FLATS

Owner: Texas General Land Office
Nearest Town: Bayside

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal flats and saltmarsh

Recreation: wildlife viewing

Description: On Copano Bay near the mouth of the Aransas River. Egery Road skirts extensive tidal mud flats and saltmarshes. Excellent birding. This is an undeveloped site with no facilities or fees.

Directions: From Bayside, go south on FM 136 and cross causeway. Turn left (east) after leaving causeway onto Egery Rd.

GOOSE ISLAND STATE PARK

Owner: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. 361/729-2858
Nearest Town: Rockport/Fulton Size: 321 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarsh and mud flats

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, camping, fishing, boating (motors allowed), picnicking, nature trail

Description: The park, on Aransas and St. Charles Bays, has “Big Tree,” the State Champion coastal live oak; a boat ramp; a lighted fishing pier; and full facilities. Spring migration guided bird tours every April. There is an Adopt-A-Wetland local school project opposite the boat ramp. An observation deck was built in the saltmarsh, and the planting of saltmarsh cordgrass is planned. Open every day year-round. Entrance fee and variable camping fees.

Directions: From Rockport, go 10 mi. northeast on TX 35 to Park Rd.13, then 2 mi. east to entrance.

ROCKPORT DEMO BIRD GARDEN & WETLANDS POND

Owner: Texas Dept. of Transportation 1-800-242-0071
Nearest Town: Rockport

Wetlands: Prairie pothole and marsh- Ingleside Sand, marsh in constructed pond

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, native plants, interpretive nature trail

Description: A TxDOT highway rest area with a hummingbird garden and pond showing the value of native plants and wetlands in attracting birds and waterfowl. Wetland demonstration pond shows the value of wetlands as a natural resource. Boardwalk goes to a willow grove and wet slough. A 19-stop interpretive nature trail goes around wetlands pond to Fulton Beach Rd. No fee.

Directions: In Rockport, 0.9 mi. south of intersection of TX 35 and FM 3036 on east side of TX 35.

ARANSAS PASS WETLANDS

Owner: Texas General Land Office 1-800-633-3028
Nearest Town: Aransas Pass

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal flats and saltmarshes

Recreation: wildlife viewing, hiking, fishing

Description: The Dale Miller Causeway (TX 361) between Aransas Pass and Port Aransas crosses Redfish Bay. The causeway is bordered by tidal flats, saltmarshes, and sand spits. There are many pull-offs along the road. No fee.

Directions: In Aransas Pass at the intersection of Loop 90 and TX 361, go east on 361 onto the causeway to Port Aransas.

MUSTANG ISLAND

PORT ARANSAS BIRDING CENTER

Owner: City of Port Aransas 361/749-4158
Nearest Town: Port Aransas

Wetlands: Barrier island interior- treated-wastewater marsh

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, native plant trail, guided birding tours

Description: This cattail marsh is associated with effluent from the adjacent wastewater treatment plant. There is a boardwalk and observation tower in the marsh. Weekly guided birding tours on Wed. mornings (1-800-452-0278), year-round weather permitting. “Go Native” guided wildflower walks 1st Sat., Mar.- Nov., 10 am. No fees.

Directions: From the ferry landing in Port Aransas, take Cut Off Rd. (TX 361) to the right to Ross Ave. Go right on Ross Ave. to the Center.

PORT ARANSAS WETLAND PARK

Owner: City of Port Aransas 361/749-4158
Nearest Town: Port Aransas

Wetlands: Barrier island interior- marsh

Recreation: wildlife viewing

Description: The observation platform (built by TxDOT) overlooks a freshwater basin that supports algae beds and some fringing marsh. Basin holds water periodically; very attractive to waterbirds during wet periods.

Directions: In Port Aransas, from the intersection of TX 361 and Cut Off Rd., go 0.3 mi. south on 361. Park is on right.

MUSTANG ISLAND STATE PARK

Owner: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. 361/749-5246
Nearest Town: Port Aransas Size: 3,954 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarsh and sand flats Barrier island interior- marsh (interdunal and on flats)

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, beach activities, camping, fishing, hiking/biking, picnicking, interpretive tours

Description: The park crosses the entire barrier island and includes 5 miles of Gulf beach. The Corpus Christi Bay side of the island includes tidal marshes and flats, with seagrass beds off shore. The island interior has freshwater marsh in depressions between dunes and central-island basins. Interpretive ecological tours done on request. Open every day year-round. Entrance fee; camping fees vary.

Directions: From Port Aransas, go 14 mi. south on TX 361. From Corpus Christi, take TX 358 (South Padre Island Drive) to Padre Island, cross the JFK Causeway, go 1 mi. to traffic light, turn left onto TX 361, go 5 mi. to park headquarters.

CORPUS CHRISTI BAY AREA

PACKERY CHANNEL COUNTY PARK

Owner: Nueces County
Nearest Town: Corpus Christi Size: 45 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal flats and saltmarsh Barrier island interior- interdunal marsh

Recreation: wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking

Description: The park borders Packery Channel, which used to separate Mustang Island from Padre Island. The channel has filled with sand due to human alteration of water current patterns in Corpus Christi Bay. The edge of the channel has some saltmarsh and extensive sand flats. Small freshwater wetlands can be seen in vacant lots along the residential streets adjacent to the park. No fee.

Directions: From Corpus Christi, take TX 358 (South Padre Island Drive) to Padre Is., crossing the JFK Causeway (Park Rd. 22). Park entrance is on left about 1 mi. after leaving causeway, at the Visitor Info. Center.

JFK CAUSEWAY WETLANDS

Source: visitpadre.com

Owner: Texas General Land Office
Nearest Town: Corpus Christi

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal flats, some fringing saltmarsh

Recreation: wildlife viewing, hiking, fishing

Description: The causeway has seagrass beds on both sides and seagrasses can be picked up along the shoreline. Extensive tidal sand flats but little saltmarsh vegetation. At the west end of the causeway, on the north side, is a more extensive saltmarsh. Numerous pull-offs along the causeway.

Directions: From Corpus Christi, take TX 358 (South Padre Island Dr.) toward Padre Island.

REDHEAD POND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA

Owner: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. 409/244-7697
Nearest Town: Corpus Christi Size: 37 acres

Wetlands: Prairie pothole and marsh- Ingleside Sand, excavated pond

Recreation: wildlife viewing

Description: The 10-acre excavated freshwater pond has fringing marsh vegetation. Site is a very important source of freshwater for many birds, especially redhead ducks. Parking area and observation platform. Day use only, no facilities, no fee.

Directions: From South Padre Island Dr. (TX 358), just west of JFK Causeway, exit onto Waldron Rd. Turn south and return to Laguna Shores Rd. Turn right and continue south on Laguna Shores about 1.5 mi. to area.

CORPUS CHRISTI BOTANICAL GARDENS

Owner: Corpus Christi Botanical Society, Inc. 361/852-2100
Nearest Town: Corpus Christi Size: 180 acres

Wetlands: Lower coast riparian- impounded marsh

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, hiking, picnicking, interpretive trails and gardens, group tours, classes and events

Description: Site is on Oso Creek. It has a “Gator Lake” with marsh dominated by cattail and California bulrush. Visitor Center (no fee) and nature trails along the lake and creek. Lake can be viewed from birding tower. A wetlands education and interpretive center with boardwalks is planned. Call for prearranged group tours and class and event schedules. Fee for gardens and trails. Open 9-5 Tues.- Sun. (June-Sept. open Thurs. till 8 pm).

Directions: From South Padre Island Dr. (TX 358), take Staples St. (FM 2244) south, cross Oso Creek to entrance at 8545 S. Staples.

HANS A. SUTER WILDLIFE PARK

Owner: City of Corpus Christi 361/880-3460
Nearest Town: Corpus Christi Size: 72 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine-tidal saltmarshes and flats

Recreation: wildlife viewing, hiking, picnicking

Description: Part of the Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge City Park. An 800-foot boardwalk, with viewing platform, extends into the marsh. This marsh exists because of freshwater inflow into Oso Bay from a wastewater treatment plant. Excellent birding area. No fee.

Directions: From South Padre Island Dr. (TX 358), exit onto Ennis Joslin Rd. and go north about 1.5 mi. to park at Nile Dr.

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY – CORPUS CHRISTI NATURE TRAIL

Owner: Texas A&M Univ.-Corpus Christi 361/994-2335
Nearest Town: Corpus Christi Size: 240 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal flats and saltmarshes

Recreation/Education: wildlife viewing, hiking/biking

Description: The nature trail follows the Ward Island shoreline on Oso Bay. Estuarine flats and marsh habitats can be closely approached. No fee for nature trail. The Partnership for Environmental and Safety Outreach (361/994-2778) is implementing the Exploring Wetlands and Waterways Youth Program. Scouting groups and students in the North Bay area will use kayaks for sea camps and exploring wetlands and waterways.

Directions: From downtown Corpus Christi, go south on Ocean Dr. to Ward Island and the campus at 6300 Ocean Dr. Take first entrance into campus. From SPID (TX 358), exit on Ennis Joslin Rd., go north to Alameda St. and veer right onto Ocean Dr.

INDIAN POINT PARK / SUNSET LAKE HIKE & BIKE TRAIL

Owner: City of Portland 361/777-3301
Nearest Town: Portland Size: 322 acres

Wetlands: Estuarine- tidal saltmarshes and flats

Recreation: wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking/biking, picnicking

Description: Indian Point Park (57 acres) has two boardwalks into tidal marshes fringing Corpus Christi Bay. There is also a fishing pier (fee). Extensive tidal flats and beach. Sunset Lake hike/bike trail has about 265 acres of wetlands, 2.1 miles hike/bike trail, 500 ft. boardwalk, 2 parking areas and nonmotorized boating. No fee for park or trail.

Directions: From Corpus Christi, go north on TX 35/US 181 and cross the Nueces Bay Causeway. At the north end of the causeway exit on Old Portland Rd. Park is on the right. Road continues north along Sunset Lake.

NUECES RIVER & BAY

NUECES RIVER PARK

Owner: City of Corpus Christi 361/880-3460
Nearest Town: Corpus Christi

Wetlands: Lower coast riparian- hardwood corridor

Recreation: wildlife viewing, fishing, primitive camping, boating, picnicking, Tourist Info. Center

Description: The forested bottomlands are across the river from the park and adjacent to the park boundaries. Open every day for day use (no fee). Overnight use requires camping permit available (no fee) from Tourist Center.

Directions: From Corpus Christi, go north on I-37 and take Exit 16 to park.

HAZEL BAZEMORE COUNTY PARK

Owner: Nueces County 361/387-4231
Nearest Town: Corpus Christi Size: 78 acres

Wetlands: Lower coast riparian – hardwood corridor

Recreation: wildlife viewing, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking

Description: Nueces River bottomland forest with nature trails, boat ramp, and a pond with a birding blind. Park is noted for fall migration of hawks following the river. Full facilities; open every day 7 am – 10 pm (Nov.- Jan, 7 am-7 pm); no fees.

Directions: From Corpus Christi, go north on I-37 and exit onto Up River Rd. Continue west on Up River to US 77, where Up River becomes Northwest Blvd. Continue west on Northwest 0.5 mi. to Hazel Bazemore Park Rd. and turn right into park.

CITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Owner: City of Corpus Christi 361/547-2122
Nearest Town: Mathis Size: 258 acres

Wetlands: Lower coast riparian- hardwood corridor

Recreation: wildlife viewing, hiking, fishing

Description: Nature trail through elm – hackberry/sugarberry riparian corridor along the Nueces River below Wesley Seale Dam at Lake Corpus Christi. This habitat lacks the frequency of flooding, due to the dam, needed to maintain a good quality bottomland forest. Day use; no fee or facilities.

Directions: From Corpus Christi, go north on I-37 and take Exit 34 at Mathis. Go southwest on TX 359 for 5.5 mi. to Park Rd. 25. Turn right and go 0.1 mi. to first parking area; a second parking area is 0.5 mi. further down PR 25. Sanctuary is on the left.

TEXAS STATE AQUARIUM

Owner: Texas State Aquarium 361/881-1307 or 1-800-477-GULF
Nearest Town: Corpus Christi Size: Aquarium-7.3 acres; Koch Tule Lake Wetland-33 acres

Wetlands: Prairie pothole and marsh- Koch Wetland (marsh) Estuarine- brackish marsh

Recreation/Education: aquarium; school field trips; summer Sea Camps; teacher workshops; outreach programs; interpretive wetland exhibit and walkway

Description: The Aquarium, Koch Industries, and the Adopt-A-Wetland Program formed the Wetland Educational Partnership to provide students and educators with hands-on, interactive wetland experiences. The Koch Tule Lake Wetland receives freshwater from the refinery’s wastewater treatment facility. Students (grades 9-12) canoe to a tidal marsh on the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Admission/program fees.

Directions: From downtown CC, take US 181/TX 35 across the bridge over the ship channel to Corpus Christi Beach. Aquarium is at 2710 N. Shoreline Blvd. next to the USS Lexington Naval Museum.

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