Nature & Science
Padre Island National Seashore is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. In addition to its 70 miles of protected coastline, other important ecosystems abound, including rare coastal prairie, a complex and dynamic dune system, wind tidal flats teeming with life, and the Laguna Madre, one of the few hypersaline lagoon environments left in the world. The National Seashore and surrounding waters provide important habitat for marine and terrestrial plants and animals, including a number of rare, threatened, and endangered species.
Situated along the Central Flyway, Padre Island is a globally important area for over 380 migratory, overwintering, and resident bird species (nearly half of all bird species documented in North America). Thirteen of these species are considered species of concern, threatened, or endangered.
Also of significant concern at Padre Island is the Kemp's ridley sea turtle, the most endangered sea turtle species in the world, which nests on the beach from late April through mid-July.The National Seashore is also one of the few places people can see newly hatched Kemp’s ridleys released into the wild.
With urban sprawl, climate change, pollution, and other detrimental factors continuing to threaten wildlife, critical ecosystems, and wild places worldwide, Padre Island remains a place where nature can balance itself, and where people can always visit to experience true quiet, solitude and a night sky filled with bright starlight.
Did You Know?
Although Padre Nicolas Balli established the first permanent settlement on the island, the island was previously owned by his father and his grandfather, who obtained the original grant from the Spanish crown. More...