What We Do

Creating a Wildlife Corridor 

The refuge is currently comprised of more than 115 separate tracts of land, most of which follow the last 275 river miles of the Rio Grande. The management strategy is to protect habitat and ultimately connect those tracts. This is done by directly purchasing land from willing sellers, through conservation easements, or by working with private landowners interested in managing their property for the benefit of wildlife. 

Restoring Habitat 

Staff and volunteers grow native trees and plants on an on-site nursery or with the help of local growers. Between the refuge staff and local growers, approximately 225,000 plants, representing up to 60 species, are grown every year. These native trees and shrubs are then planted on refuge lands with the help of a cooperative farming program. 

Wetlands Management 

The refuge has an active management approach to improving and restoring wetlands for the benefit of wildlife. To mimic the flooding of the Rio Grande, refuge staff use pumps and other infrastructure to deliver water to the 'resacas' (oxbow lakes). These crucial wetlands provide habitat for wildlife that nest, rest, feed and raise their young in these wetlands. 

Protecting Native Species 

Protecting native wildlife and plant species are a top management priority for the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge strives to restore and enhance habitat for the benefit of all native species, endangered or otherwise. To do this, efforts focus on managing exotic and invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
that out-compete and displace native species. 

Cooperative farming 

With help from farmers, we maintain the land and plant as needed to prevent invasive grass species from disturbing the area. 

Management and Conservation

Refuges use a wide range of land management tools based on the best science available. Some refuges use prescribed fires to mimic natural fires that would have cleared old vegetation from the land helping native plants regenerate and local wildlife to thrive. Other refuges contain Wilderness areas where land is largely managed in passively. The management tools used are aimed at ensuring a balanced conservation approach where both wildlife and people will benefit. 

Law Enforcement

Federal wildlife law enforcement officers patrol the refuge to ensure the safety of the public and the protection of natural resources. They address many illegal activities, including taking of endangered species, dumping of trash, illegal use of all terrain vehicles, trespassing and more. They work very closely with U.S. Border Patrol agents who regularly patrol the refuge and assist as needed. 
To report a violation on refuge lands during the daytime (7:30am to 5pm), please call: (956)784-7520 or (956)784-7608 

Laws and Regulations

To protect habitat and keep Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge a safe place for wildlife and people, please follow these simple rules: