Mustang Island is a coastal barrier island with a unique and complicated ecosystem, dependent upon sand dunes. Coastal dunes are the product of wind-deposited sand anchored by sparse mats of vegetation. The height of well-vegetated dunes may reach 35 feet, though 15-20 feet is average. The dunes are capable of reducing the destructive might of hurricane-driven waves and protecting bay and mainland areas. In some areas, inland and bayside dunes occur, which are generally smaller but spread over larger areas than the primary beach-side dunes. The vegetation holding the dunes in place is drought-resistant species such as sea oats, beach panic grass, and soilbind morning glory. Studies have shown that these plants and their progeny can collect enough sand to build a 15-foot dune in three years. The island animal community is dominated by rodents such as pocket gophers, spotted ground squirrels, grasshopper mice, rice rats and cotton rats. Other small mammals include opossums, raccoons, striped skunks, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, and armadillos. A small population of coyotes are present, as well. Large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds are common, as well as several species of hawks and a large variety of songbirds, most of which are migratory. An estimated 600 species of saltwater fish inhabit the waters along the coast.
Directions: From Corpus Christi, TX, Travel southeast on State Highway 358 to Padre Island; cross the JFK Causeway; continue one mile to traffic light; turn left onto State Highway 361 (used to be Park Road 53), and go 5 miles north to park headquarters for a total distance of about 22 miles
Distance: 5 miles
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Mustang Island State Park, Texas
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