Our Role

Since the 1990s, over 100,000 acres of coastal wetlands have been lost in the Upper Texas Gulf Coast region. Large-scale development projects have dramatically altered the landscape’s natural hydrology over time, degrading thousands of acres of marsh due to erosion and saltwater intrusion—making the protection of Sabine Ranch a top priority for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 2016, The Conservation Fund acquired the entire property. We will be working with both public and private partners to transfer the land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as an addition to the McFaddin NWR. McFaddin NWR is part of the larger Texas Chenier Plain Refuge Complex, consisting of McFaddin, Anahuac, Moody and Texas Point NWRs, which currently protects approximately 106,000 acres, with authorization to add an additional 60,000 acres to its holdings (including the Sabine Ranch).

If the Fund had not pre-acquired the property, it would have likely been sold for non-conservation purposes and subdivided, fragmenting the wetlands and impairing the watersheds that support the Refuge.


Why This Project Matters

As sea levels rise and storms intensify, ensuring the permanent protection of Sabine Ranch will reinforce the resilience of the area as a coastal buffer. Protecting the Ranch will have a positive effect on water quality, shallow aquatic habitats, emergent tidal marshes, migratory and shore birds, and a range of other coastal habitat species. These wetlands act as a life-saving buffer to inland communities during intense storm and hurricane events. The addition of Sabine Ranch will also expand and enhance wildlife viewing opportunities in the protected coastal marsh and prairie habitat along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail in the McFaddin NWR.

Sabine Ranch, Texas


 

What’s Next?

Over the next 2-3 years, The Conservation Fund will seek private and public funding to enable the eventual transfer of the property to the USFWS. The successful conveyance of the entire Sabine Ranch to the USFWS will create a continuous Refuge of 71,237 acres.

For more information about how you can support the conservation of Sabine Ranch, contact Callie Easterly

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