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University » Public Lands » Sabine NWR
Sabine NWR

national-wildlife-refuge-logoSabine National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 and is the largest coastal marsh refuge on the Gulf. The primary management objective is to preserve a large area of coastal wetlands for wintering and migrating waterfowl from both the Mississippi and Central Flyways. This refuge is also a major nursery area for many estuarine-dependent marine species as well as being the home for alligators and other reptiles, mammals, and numerous wading, water and marsh birds.

Because of Hurricane Rita, all of the office buildings, visitor center and maintenance shops were damaged beyond repair and have been removed. There are three remaining structures at the Sabine NWR headquarters area that will be repaired. A boathouse, a block storage building and a tin-covered storage shed.

Refuge recreational areas along Highway 27 received varying amounts of damage to bridges, piers, observation towers, boardwalks, restroom facilities, fences, and parking lots. These facilities need to be repaired before the areas can be re-opened for public use. Refuge staff is working with state and local partners, contractors, and other federal agencies to have these repairs completed.

West of Highway 27, Sabine refuge canals and marshes were severely impacted by storm wind and water. Approximately 32,000 acres of refuge marshes, levees, and canals have been negatively impacted. Canals and marshes are clogged with seven million cubic meters of debris from off shore rigs and coastal communities. There are both physical and chemical hazards present throughout the refuge, many of which have settled below the marsh and water surfaces. Tanks and barrels containing hazardous liquids and gases have the potential to explode or break down and release toxins into the environment. Over 1,400 hazardous material containers have been identified and are estimated to contain between 115,000 and 350,000 gallons of hazardous liquids and gases.

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