Skip to Navigation

Anahuac NWR

Site Facts

Country, State, Province/Region:

United States of America, Texas

Relative Location:

Upper Texas Coast; approximately 60 miles northeast of Houston, along East Galveston Bay.


29°35.8' N; 94°28.95' W



Basis for Designation:

Supports more than 10% of the population of Whimbril (Numenius phaeopus)


34,300 acres


October 2005

Site Owner/Steward:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Site Partners:

Friends of Anahuac Refuge


Jimmy Laurent
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

About Us

The 34,000-acre Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is a WHSRN Site of International Importance, hosting a high numbers of Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus) each April and May (> 2,200). These are presumed to be mostly or entirely of the N. p. hudsonicus subspecies and therefore >10% of the estimated biogeographic population of 18,000 for that subspecies. Anahuac NWR is also a very important spring stopover site for other species, especially Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper, and possibly both the Long- and Short-billed Dowitcher. If daily turnover rates are taken into account, the number of each of these species that use the refuge during the course of a spring migration likely exceeds the 10% “flyway” threshold as well. For more information on these shorebirds and their estimated flyway populations, please visit the Species Conservation Plans page.

Anahuac is one of five WHSRN Sites in Texas (all of International Importance and listed north to south): Anahuac, Bolivar Flats, Texas Mid-Coast NWR Complex, South Texas Salt Lakes, and Laguna Madre - a binational site with Tamaulipas, Mexico. The refuge is approximately 65% coastal marsh (over half of which is wholly or partly structurally managed), 25% upland grasslands, and 10% moist-soil and rice. The refuge provides critical habitat for a diversity of wildlife including migratory and resident birds (particularly waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds, and neotropical migrants), reptiles, and estuarine fisheries. 

In the News

Shorebird Workshops Spread Conservation Knowledge To Land Managers

Whimbrel Tracking Project Reveals New Staging Areas

Preserve purchased on Bolivar Peninsula

Ecology & Conservation


The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is currently operating under a Comprehensive Conservation Plan approved in 2008. Under this plan: "Wetland habitat management activities for waterfowl, shorebirds and other wetland-dependent migratory birds including structural water management in marshes, prescribed burning, controlled grazing, and rice farming and moist soil management will be refined and enhanced, and in some cases expanded through development of new infrastructure."

Land Use

Anahuac NWR is a federally-owned National Wildlife Refuge, a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Interior.

Current Threats

Most threats to the area are related to: 1) loss of coastal and inland wetlands through subsidence and sea level rise, shoreline/coastal erosion, and saltwater intrusion; and 2) prevalence and spread of non-native plant and animal species in wetlands, uplands, and coastal woodlots.

Development and land-use changes on a landscape level will affect the wildlife value of the area. Many shorebirds use a complex of rice, moist-soil, and natural wetlands on and off the refuge on a daily basis.

The current decline in rice farming is a major threat to shorebirds in the area. Rice farming provides important shorebird habitat, particularly during the spring. As rice declines in the area, the overall use of the refuge and the shorebird value of the upper Texas coast will decline.

Major Causes of Disturbance

The area is managed to minimize disturbances. Potential sources of disturbance include oil & gas activities, aviation, recreation, and research and management activities.

Research and Management Activities

Anahuac NWR is managed to conserve, enhance, and restore the region’s coastal wetlands, woodlots, and prairies. The goals of management activities are to provide wintering, migrational, and nesting/brood-rearing habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, marsh and wading birds, other wetland-dependent wildlife as well as resident and migratory land birds.


Jimmy Laurent
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
PO Box 278
Anahuac, TX 77514
phone: 409-267-3337
fax: 409-267-4314

Patrick Walther
Wildlife Biologist
Anahuac NWR
PO Box 278
Anahuac, TX 77514, USA;
T: 409 267-3337
Fax: 409 267-4314

Site Partners:

Friends of Anahuac Refuge
P.O. Box 1348
Anahuac, TX 77514
Friends of Anahuac Refuge on Facebook


Farmer, A. H. and A. H. Parent. 1997. Effects of the landscape on shorebird movements at spring migration stopovers. Condor 99: 698-707.

Holt, H. R. 1993. A Birder’s Guide to the Texas Coast. American Birding Association, Inc.

Wauer, R. H. and M. A. Elwonger. 1998. Birding Texas. Falcon Press.