TOP 10 FACTS ABOUT...
THE TRINITY BOTTOMLANDS
- 1) The Trinity River gained its name from Alonso de Leon in the late 1600s. Prior to this, small bands of Native American tribes inhabited the area, including the Akokisa, Orcoquisac and Atakapa.
- 2) In addition to being an important historical area, the current economic and environmental roles of the Trinity River are just as important. Over 20 reservoirs are built around the river and supply a large portion of Houston’s water.
- 3) The frequent flooding of the river has left a big mark on the surrounding area, hydrating nearby soils that support the wealth of plants, animals and landscapes that exist in the bottomlands.
- 4) The Trinity Bottomlands run from southern San Jacinto County to northern Chambers County with the heart of the bottomlands in Liberty County.
- 5) Approximately 105,000 acres of this biologically significant area were selected as part of the Trinity National Wildlife Refuge in 1999.
- 6) Species counts extend to nearly 650 plants, 275 birds, 50 fish, 25 mammals (including beaver, otter, bobcats, gray fox, red fox, white-tailed deer and numerous bat species) and 25 reptiles (including alligators). In addition, 66 butterfly species have been documented as well as many endangered species like the bald eagle, brown pelicans and arctic peregrine falcon.
- 7) The Trinity National Wildlife Refuge is a birdwatching hot spot, offering thousands of acres of diverse wildlife habitats for the 275 species of birds found in this area.
- 8) Champion Lake, found in the Trinity Bottomlands, has a 150-foot fishing pier where bass, crappie and catfish can be caught swimming in the waters below.
- 9) Most visitors to the area will hear the chorus of frogs, but rarely encounter them. However, the hummingbirds and butterflies are much more social.
- 10) The refuge offers shelter to numerous species of migratory birds such as summer tanager, vermilion flycatchers, and even some rare species like the Henslow’s sparrow and sedge wrens.
ABOUT THE TRINITY BOTTOMLANDS
Brilliantly plumed wood ducks glide through the green canopy before lighting in the black waters below. Crawfish crawl up cypress trees. Young, gawky great egrets look wide-eyed from their nest of sticks.
Originating north of Dallas, the Trinity River flows along the Texas landscape reaching Galveston Bay 550 river miles later. Home to river otters, songbirds and alligators, the low-lying Trinity Bottomlands support a wealth of plant and animal life. Here among the tupelo and cypress trees, half of all of the bird species identified in the United States can be found throughout the year.
Especially important is the role of the Trinity River as the lifeblood of Galveston Bay. Seasonal floods deliver vital nutrients to the bay by transporting mineral-rich waters. This fresh water infusion helps make Galveston Bay one of the most productive estuaries in the United States.
Sustaining its own rich biodiversity while providing fuel for the equally rich Galveston Bay system, the Trinity Bottomlands help make Houston Wilderness one of the nation’s unique ecological treasures.
Trinity River NWR was established to protect a remnant of the bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem along the Trinity. The refuge is currently at 18,500 acres and continues to grow. This highly valuable habitat is used during migration or nesting by nearly 50 percent of the neotropical migratory bird species listed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Although not fully surveyed, the refuge contains more than 620 plant species and 400 vertebrate species. Only small groups may use this site as restroom facilities are extremely limited. Guided tours are not available.
Champion Lake, bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem (one of 14 priority-one bottomland sites identified for protection in the Texas Bottomland Protection Plan), bottomland hardwood forested swamps, open water, and wet pastures, upland cultivated pastures, natural pine forests, and mixed pine-hardwood forests, diversity of waterfowl species.
Wallisville Lake Project contains just over 23,000 acres of fresh and brackish water marsh, cypress swamp, and mixed hardwood forests, three rivers, three large lakes, and numerous smaller streams and pools. As the estuary for the Trinity Bay and greater Galveston Bay, the Wallisville Lake Project provides a nursery area for the wide variety of sport fish and shellfish inhabiting these bays.
The Waterborne Education Center´s (WEC) homeport is Anahuac Harbor, located at the mouth of the Trinity where the river meets the bay. Field labs also take place regularly on the Houston Ship Channel and occasionally on the Sabine and Neches rivers.
HOUSTON, DID YOU KNOW?
Texas Coastal Marshes are like an interconnected web of grasslands with areas of shallow open water, encompassing areas adjacent to Matagorda... Learn about Coastal Marshes
WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS SEASON
- Baila Mariposa - Houston Arboretum & Nature Center’s 37th Annual Alfresco Gala
- 41st Buffalo Bayou Regatta
- Brazos Bend State Park Texas Outdoor Family Day
- Help take care of Texas for the benefit of kids
Check out our Events Calendar to find out what other exciting things are happening this season!