The State of Texas Wetlands: A Review of Current and Future Challenges
Cover photo:  Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Texas.  ©2022 Rob Doyle, Pluto911 Photography


Texas, wetlands, climate, wildlife, regulatory

How to Cite

Fern, Rachel R., Mattityahu D. Baron, Angela E. England, Jordan C. Giese, Kevin J. Kraai, Joseph D. Lancaster, Shaun L. Oldenburger, James C. Shipes, Barry C. Wilson, and Sara R. Wyckoff. 2023. “The State of Texas Wetlands: A Review of Current and Future Challenges”. Texas Water Journal 14 (1). College Station, Texas:136-74.


With roughly 3.9 million acres of wetlands, 2.3% of its total land area, Texas has the fifth largest wetland acreage in the United States. As of 1990, there was an estimated 52% reduction in the state's original wetland acreage, but there has been no recent assessment of statewide wetland loss or gain since then. Wetlands provide critical ecosystem services, including wildlife habitat, flood storage and control, aquifer recharge, water quality improvement, and pollutant breakdown and storage of greenhouse gasses as well as human recreational opportunities including boating, paddling, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, hiking, and nature photography. Texas wetlands face intensifying challenges in the coming decades. Regulatory and legislative action should be forward-facing, anticipating effects of climate change, sea level rise, and urban expansion. Incorporating new technologies will allow for more timely and cost-efficient large-scale monitoring of wetland loss and gain. The residents of Texas are largely in support of active management of the state’s water resources; academic institutions, state and federal agencies, and conservation-minded private entities should work together to ensure the wetlands of Texas persist for wildlife and the generations to come.


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Copyright (c) 2023 Rachel R. Fern, Mattityahu D. Baron, Angela E. England, Jordan C. Giese, Kevin J. Kraai, Joseph D. Lancaster, Shaun L. Oldenburger, James C. Shipes, Barry C. Wilson, Sara R. Wyckoff