This refuge is one of over 545 National Wildlife Refuges spanning the United States and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is the only national system of lands dedicated to conserving our wildlife heritage for today and generations yet to come.
The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of over 115,000 acres including the Blackjack Peninsula, Matagorda Island, Myrtle Foester Whitmire, Tatton and Lamar units. These areas provide vital resting, feeding, wintering and nesting grounds for migratory birds and native Texas wildlife.
The refuge is world renowned for hosting the largest wild flock of endangered whooping cranes each winter. Other native species you can see on the refuge include the American alligator, javelina, roseate spoonbill, white-tailed deer, armadillo and spectacular wildflowers.
Interpretive van tours are offered from January through April and year-round pier and wade fishing access to San Antonio Bay are now permitted at the Fishing Pier adjacent to the Picnic Area. The warm shallow waters of San Antonio Bay provide excellent fishing for redfish, speckled trout, black drum and flounder.
This 7,800-acre native wildlife refuge focuses mostly on research and educational priorities that are in the field of wildlife management and conservation. The conservation education programs, targeting primarily school and university groups, emphasizes ecology and management of South Texas wildlife and their habitats.
The diversity and abundance of wildlife and habitats on the Refuge provide an ideal outdoor classroom and laboratory. A wide array of public tours, school and college programs, teacher in-service programs, conservation workshops, scientific education programs, symposium and field days led by professionally trained staff are offered throughout the year.
Wildlife that is common and has been studied extensively at the Refuge include Rio Grande turkeys, black-bellied whistling ducks, white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits and javelina.