Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve or “Reserve” is a federal and state partnership that conducts research, education, and stewardship programs. This program is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is managed by the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. There are 29 Reserves around the country and each reserve is a "living laboratory" in which scientists conduct research and educators communicate research results.

The mission of the Mission-Aransas Reserve is to develop and facilitate partnerships that enhance coastal decision making through an integrated program of research, education, and stewardship. This mission allows us to achieve our vision of forming a center of excellence that creates and disseminates knowledge necessary to maintain healthy Texas coasts. The Reserve has three primary goals: (1)to improve knowledge of Texas coastal zone ecosystems structure and function, (2) to promote understanding of coastal ecosystems by diverse audiences, and (3) to promote public appreciation and support for stewardship of coastal resources.

The Mission-Aransas Reserve is administered by the University of Texas, but works in partnership with the following organizations to ensure that the goals of the Reserve are met: Texas General Land Office, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Coastal Bend Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Fennessey Ranch, Texas Department of Transportation, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuary Program, and a representative from the local community. 


Fast Facts:

  • We are the 3rd largest NERR at 186,189 acres
  • The only NERR in Texas
  • The only NERR west of the Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico

The Mission-Aransas Reserve Headquarters is located on the University of Texas Marine Science Institute campus. 

Map of the Mission-Aransas Reserve boundaries in Copano and Aransas Bays.