Holly Beach in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley is made up of 1,512 acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat, with four miles of Laguna Madre frontage. We’re actively working to permanently protect this diverse ecosystem as part of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, where it will provide important habitat and wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities like hunting, fishing and bird watching.


The Holly Beach property features wildlife habitats such as tidal wetlands and lakes, thornscrub and coastal prairie—perfect for numerous species. The land is home to several federally endangered species including five species of sea turtles, ocelots, jaguarundis, and nesting northern Aplomado falcons. It also protects foraging habitat for migratory birds such as gull-billed terns, black skimmers, reddish egrets, piping plover, mottled duck and red knot.

The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) protects one of the two remaining ocelot populations in the United States. A documented denning site for ocelots, the conservation of Holly Beach will help expand a critical wildlife corridor and connect the northern and southern units of Laguna Atascosa NWR for ocelots, white-tailed deer, coyote, bobcat, collared peccary, long-tailed weasel and eastern cottontail rabbits.

Laguna Atascosa NWR has more recorded species of birds than any other refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The American Bird Conservancy has designated the area as a “globally important bird area” because it provides habitat for migratory, winter and resident birds.

Less than 5% of Texas lands are publicly-owned, so new recreational areas like this one are critical to wildlife and the outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors, both local and out-of-state, supporting the local tourism economy. The addition of Holly Beach to Laguna Atascosa NWR will enhance opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. Approximately 600 additional acres will be available for hunting activities on the Refuge, and Holly Beach will be open for school groups, birders, hikers and more.

Credit: Andy Jones


When this pristine habitat was threatened by development, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) asked us for help to purchase and hold the 1,512-acre Holly Beach property until they have the time to get necessary funding for its future inclusion as part of the Laguna Atascosa NWR. A primary interest in protecting this important landscape is to increase populations of:

  • Coastal grassland birds, including the Aplomado falcon
  • Ocelots and other brush dependent species by establishing healthier lomas
  • Commercially and recreationally important fishery species by protecting estuarine and fresh marsh environments that provide nursery habitat
  • Shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl

Credit: Martinus Scriblerus