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Padre Island is a long sand-barrier island extending 185 km along the coast of South Texas. It has the longest sand beach in the United States. The island is divided into three distinct areas: north, central and south. The north end is just east of Corpus Christi and is devoted to residential, water-oriented, recreational development. The south contains the town of South Padre Island, opposite Port Isabel, and has been developing rapidly as a major resort town. The central portion has been designated as the Padre Island National Seashore, which is in its natural state except at Malaquite Beach. It is the longest section of undeveloped barrier island in the world. The Sigsbee Deep, the deepest part of the Gulf of Mexico, is situated off the central part of the island. Historically, developments have been hard to maintain against storm surge, flooding, and wind and wave erosion. All of Padre Island is susceptible to tropical storm damage, an average of one every 7.1 years. Recreational activities on the island include fishing, swimming, camping, windsurfing, sailing, boating, bird and wildlife watching, stargazing, and personal reflection.
Nearest Largest City: Corpus Christi, Texas, USA
Area of Coverage: 888 km2
Width: 4.8 km
Length: 185.0 km
Padre Island provides important habitat for marine and terrestrial plants and animals, including a number of rare, threatened, and endangered species. There are more than 600 species of plants and wildflowers. The island provides an important nursing ground for more than 350 bird species. A unique species of oily live oak tree (Quercus fusiformis) grows only on the island. Blacktail jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, coyotes and eastern moles are among the many animals on Padre Island. The Laguna Madre, between the western side of the island and the continent, is noted for its astronomical numbers of waterfowl. Herons, ibis, egrets, spoonbills, pelicans, cormorants, ducks and geese use the island and the lagoons as a sanctuary and breeding ground.
The Padre Island National Seashore is the most important nesting beach in the U.S. for the Kemp's ridley, the most endangered sea turtle in the world. There is also an effort to participate in the global recovery of the populations of four other threatened and endangered sea turtle species.
The slow, ongoing process of sea erosion and deposition formed Padre Island. It is a low sandy island characterized by large, irregular sand dunes dotted with a variety of shells, fine silt and sand.
National Park Service. URL: http://www.nps.gov/pais/
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). URL: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/texaswater/txgems/padreisl/padreisl.phtml
The Hand Book of Texas Online - Padre Island. URL: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/PP/gkp1.html
Texas Parks & Wildlife - Texas Gems, Padre Island national Seashore
National Park Service - Padre Island
AllRefer.com - Padre Island
The Hand Book of Texas Online - Padre Island
Wild Texas - Padre Island National Seashore
Keywords: Sand dune, Beach, Oak tree, Waterfowl, Heron, Ibis, Egret, Spoonbill, Pelican, Cormorant, Duck, Goose, Mammal, Blacktail jackrabbit, Ground squirrel, Kangaroo rat, Coyote, Sea turtle
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