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Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve


Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve is a large contiguous complex of wetland, terrestrial, and marine environments on the Texas Coastal Bend in the United States. Named for the two major rivers that flow into the area, the reserve contains public and private lands and waters. The land is primarily coastal prairie with unique oak motte habitats. The wetlands include riparian habitat, freshwater marshes, and saltwater marshes. Within the water areas, the bays are large, open, and include extensive tidal flats, seagrass meadows, mangroves, and oyster reefs. These unique and diverse estuarine habitats in the western Gulf of Mexico support a host of endangered and threatened species including the endangered Whooping Crane.

Traditional activities within the proposed reserve include boating, fishing, hunting, oil and gas extraction, shellfish harvesting, camping and recreational activities. Despite a long history of human uses and its close proximity to the city of Corpus Christi, the reserve is relatively rural and pristine.[1]

Visitor facilities

The University of Texas Marine Science Institute operates locations for visitors to learn about and explore the reserve.

  • University of Texas Marine Science Institute Visitor Center - located in Port Aransas, features seven aquaria representing typical Texas coastal habitats, self guided tours and educational movies. The facility also includes a gift shop.
  • Wetlands Education Center- located in Port Aransas, an artificial wetlands seagrass pond that occupies 3.5 acres between the MSI Visitors Center and the South Jetty. Visitors can tour a boardwalk around the pond to view the vegetation and the wildlife, and view educational signage.
  • Bay Education Center - located in Rockport, Texas, features exhibits about the estuary's ecosystem and Science On a Sphere, a spherical display system created by NOAA to illustrate Earth science concepts.


  1. ^ "Mission-Aransas, TX". NERRS Reserves. National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 

External links

  • University of Texas Marine Science Institute - Visitor information

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the NOAA.

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