Sitting just off the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico is a string of island refuges for wildlife. One of the central “pearls” in this string is the Francine Cohn Preserve, just south of Port Aransas on Mustang Island’s western face. This 300-acre preserve is about a mile from The Nature Conservancy (TNC)'s Shamrock Island Preserve, one of the most important nesting sites for colonial waterbirds. As a result, Francine Cohn’s marsh habitat serves as a foraging site for rare and other waterbird species at this island rookery. Migrating and resident songbirds, shorebirds, raptors and wading birds also use the area for feeding, resting and roosting.
The preserve’s marshy wetlands are dominated by smooth cordgrass, seagrasses and glassworts. Upland areas of the preserve showcase gulf cordgrass and seacoast bluestem. And, along the beachfront at Francine Cohn, a rare population of black mangrove thrives in the saltwater.