TEXAS GEMS - GUADALUPE DELTA WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA
The WMA consists of approximately 6,200 acres of marshes. It is basically a freshwater marsh subject to flooding from the Guadalupe River and its adjacent bayous. It consists of 3 units, Mission Lake Unit (4,447.62 acres), Hynes Bay Unit (1007.72 acres), San Antonio River unit (700 acres). It is located in Calhoun, Refurio, and Victoria counties.
Area of Influence:
12100403- Mission Lake & 12100404- Hynes
Lake (USGS Hydrologic Units, Texas Maps).
4b- Estuarine Zone of Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes(Ecoregions and Sub-regions of Texas).
Coastal marsh; Deltaic estuary of the Guadalupe River; it is a complex of natural and manmade wetlands and associated adjacent uplands in the vicinity of the delta of the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers. The volume of freshwater the Guadalupe River discharges, along with the shallowness of adjacent bays, contribute to extremely low salinity in those bay systems as compared to other bay systems in Texas.
State and federal threatened and endangered species that have been recorded on GDWMA are Brown Pelican, Reddish Egret, White-faced Ibis, Wood Stork, Bald Eagle, White-tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, and Whooping Crane. Rare/endangered/threatened species with occurrence record on the refuge include:
Texas diamondback terrapin (Malaclemysterrapinlittoralis)
The estuary at the upper end of San Antonio Bay provides valuable spawning and nursery habitat for red drum, Atlantic croaker, spotted seatrout, brown shrimp, white shrimp, blue crab, and other marine species.
Riparian areas along the numerous small bayous form corridor forests of pecan, black willow, cedar, American elm, hackberry, and green ash, and provide excellent forage area for neotropical songbirds. Hundreds of White-faced Ibis seasonally forage in the marshes of the WMA. White-tailed Hawks commonly forage over the WMA during the non-breeding season. Single Peregrine Falcons are observed several times each year foraging over the WMA.
Lands in the GDWMA have traditionally provided important habitat for wetland dependent wildlife, especially migratory waterfowl.
Clay soils predominate in Mission Lake, Hynes Bay, and San Antonio River units.
Uniqueness of Natural Community:
The active delta has formed a diverse environment of lakes, fresh, brackish, and saline marshes, and riparian areas.
Archaeological and Cultural Significance:
The first recorded inhabitants of the Guadalupe Delta area were the Karankawa Indians. Campsite remains are still evident at prominent points and high banks along bay shores. The first Anglo settlements were established in 1828, with additional colonies being established in 1842 at Indianola and the present site of Port Lavaca.
Sport hunting and sport fishing are part of the seasonal recreation in the GDWMA
Commercial freshwater fishing and crabbing are economically important in the Guadalupe Delta region.
The WMA is owned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Wildlife Management Area
Funding for operation of GDWMA are primarily derived from hunting license sales, Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act Funds, hunter access fees, Texas Conservation Passports fees, and cooperative cost-sharing projects with Ducks Unlimited, USFWS, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Existing Monitoring Activities:
Evaluation of the existing wildlife and habitat management activities
Future land acquisitions are necessary for continued conservation and enhancement of emergent estuarine and riparian areas of the Guadalupe Delta, which are important habitats for migratory and resident waterfowl and neotropical migrants. Acquisitions will prevent commercial and residential development on properties near public roads. Acquisition will increase existing public hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Development and management of habitats for indigenous and migratory species with special emphasis on waterfowl is needed, as well as the expansion and improvement of WMA facilities to accommodate intensive research and management activities that allow for a complete understanding of coastal ecosystem functions.
Central Coast Wetland Ecosystems Project. 1996. Guadalupe Delta Wildlife Management Area, Long-Range Plan, April 1996.