Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

By: Alicia A. Garza

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: June 18, 2020

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, on Laguna Atascosa and Laguna Madre twenty-five miles east of Harlingen in Cameron County, was established in 1946. It encompasses 45,150 acres, including 7,000 acres in ponds and marshes. The refuge has twelve miles of shoreline on Laguna Madre. Along the lagoon the terrain is long, barren, tidal flats broken by long, well-vegetated clay dunes. Inland resacas support various species. The refuge comprises coastal prairies, salt flats, extensive marshes, and relatively flat expanses of densely vegetated floodplain deposits. It is a bird-watcher's paradise: some 314 species of birds have been sighted in the area. The refuge is open to the public for sightseeing but not for camping.

Robert J. Mallouf, The Unland Site: A Prehistoric Group Burial from Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Cameron County, Texas (Austin: Office of the State Archeologist, Texas Historical Commission, 1979).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Alicia A. Garza, “Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 18, 2020