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Aransas National Wildlife Refuge: A Haven for Wildlife and a Destination for Nature Lovers

Updated: Jan 13, 2023


The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is a very special place. Located on the Gulf Coast of Texas, it sits just north of beautiful Rockport, Texas. It is the home and a federally protected area that is dedicated to the conservation and protection of fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. National wildlife refuges like Aransas are important for the protection and conservation of our world and our country's natural resources and biodiversity.

Established in 1937, the refuge has a rich history of preserving and enhancing the natural resources within its boundaries. They also provide recreational opportunities for the public to enjoy. It is a haven for wildlife and a destination for nature lovers alike.

In this article, we will explore its wonder, history, work, and legacy. Let's dive right in and learn more......

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Overview of the Refuge

The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge also referred to as ANWR, is the largest managed Fish and Wildlife Service-protected area in the great state of Texas. Its jurisdiction spans three counties: Aransas County, Refugio County, and Calhoun County.

The Refuge is a federally protected wildlife sanctuary under the protection, direct supervision, and jurisdiction of The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS or FWS). It is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior. Which is dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats in the United States. The mission of the agency is "working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Seal
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Seal

The Federally Protected Refuge is made up of five units. Two of which (the Aransas and Tatton Units) are contiguous and located on the mainland. The Aransas Unit is the original part of the refuge. Its territory spans 47,261 acres, while the Tatton Unit is 7,568 acres. Then we have The Lamar and Myrtle Foester Whitmire Units which are smaller, respectively covering 979 acres and 3,440 acres.

The largest unit is the Matagorda Island Unit, which encompasses a 56,683-acre natural area that is managed as a unit of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and is an overlay to a state Wildlife Management Area. Texas Parks and Wildlife has the lead responsibility for public use management on the island, while the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is responsible for wildlife and habitat management.

In total, the refuge covers 115,324 expansive acres.