The Texas coast is bordered by the world's longest barrier
island system. Part of this island system forms the enormous Laguna Madre (or
"Mother Lagoon") whose mosaic of coastal wetlands, freshwater ponds
and native grasslands provide critical habitat for migratory raptors,
songbirds, waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds. The lagoon is one of only five known hypersaline estuary systems in the world,
from shorebirds and waterfowl to rare wildcats to endangered sea turtles, a
rich variety of wildlife depends on the Laguna Madre for survival—90 percent of
all redhead ducks winter in the lagoon. Other species include reddish egrets,
brown pelicans, peregrine falcons, piping
plovers, jaguarundi and ocelots. The Laguna Madre extends into northeast Mexico and its estuaries, bays and
marshes are critically important for wintering waterfowl, migratory shorebirds
and neotropical songbirds. The entire coastal region of southern Texas and
northeast Mexico and its wetlands, marshes, bays, lagoons and barrier islands
are coming under increasing pressure and fragmentation from resort development,
sewage and agricultural run-off, increasing commercial industry, boat traffic, and dredging. Fortunately, much of the Laguna Madre is surrounded by protected lands like the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Padre Island National Seashore, and some privately owned ranches including both the King Ranch and the Kenedy Ranch.
Extraction Industry Threat: LNG proposed export terminals
Land ownership around the Laguna Madre includes privately owned cattle ranches (Kenedy and King Ranches), federally owned conservation areas (Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and the Padre Island National Seashore), and coastal communities. Green Island is a natural island in the Lower Laguna Madre that is managed by Audubon Texas for the benefit of colonial waterbirds.
of habitats can be found both in and around the Laguna Madre, and each of them
support a large, diverse wildlife population. Some of these habitats include
seagrass beds, dunes, coastal prairies, tidal flats, brushlands, freshwater and
brackish pothole wetlands, estuarine wetlands, lomas, beaches, thornscrub,
coastal live oak mottes, and grasslands.