About This Reserve
This reserve is a large contiguous complex of wetland, terrestrial, and marine environments named for the two river systems that flow into it. Coastal prairie, oak motte, riparian freshwater, and salt marsh habitats make up the reserve. The water portion consists of three large, open and shallow bays that support extensive tidal flats, seagrass beds, mangroves, and oyster reefs. The largest wetland habitat (24,400 acres) on the north side of the reserve is part of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and is the winter home to the critically endangered Whooping Crane.
Mission-Aransas Reserve, one of 30 areas in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, is protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education, and coastal stewardship. The reserve is managed on a daily basis by the University of Texas, Marine Science Institute, with assistance from local partners. NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management provides funding, national guidance, and technical assistance.