Apr 24, 2024 - News

Thousands of acres added to wildlife refuges in Texas

Photo of Whooping Cranes

The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge will nearly double in size. Photo: Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of acres will be added to wildlife refuges in Texas, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Why it matters: The new acquisitions and conservation areas managed by the National Wildlife Refuge System in Texas aim to conserve the habitats and protect the state's diverse wildlife.

  • The land will also be evaluated for potential recreational opportunities and public access, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced.

What they're saying: "Texas is one of the most biodiverse states in the U.S. with tens of thousands of native animal and plant species inhabiting hundreds of different habitat types," Amy Lueders, the Fish and Wildlife Service's Southwest regional director, said in a statement.

  • "Each of our Texas National Wildlife Refuges were established to help safeguard this biodiversity, with a focus on protecting habitat for migratory birds along with listed and at-risk species."

The big picture: The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and the Big Boggy National Wildlife Refuge along the Gulf Coast are expanding by a combined 150,000 acres to protect the whooping crane, Attwater's prairie chicken, the threatened Eastern black rail, and other various wintering waterfowl in particular.

  • The Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge along the Texas-New Mexico border, the oldest national wildlife refuge in the state, will expand by 700,000 acres to support the sandhill crane, the pronghorn, the lesser prairie chicken, and other wildlife.

Plus: Seven more acquisitions by the Fish and Wildlife Service have added more than 9,000 acres to the National Wildlife Refuge System in Texas, including more than 5,600 acres at the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast and 3,000 acres at the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge in East Texas.

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