Laguna Madre, Mexico

Photo: Reddish Egret by Greg Lavaty


The Challenge

Laguna Madre, in the northeast Mexican state of Tamaulipas, just south of the border with Texas, is home to very large numbers of wintering shorebirds and ducks. Its islands also serve as important breeding areas for as many as 10,000 pairs of colonial water birds.  Actions are necessary to protect the varied habitats of Laguna Madre to maintain habitat for migratory and breeding birds.  Feral and wild predators on barrier islands and beach nesting areas severely limit successful reproduction for many birds, and siltation and desertification reduce availability of fresh water ponds for ducks.


ABC Conservation Framework

Conserving habitats
pyramid icon


Primary Birds Impacted

Multiple WatchList bird species including the Snowy, Wilsonís, and Piping Plovers, Reddish Egret, Gull-billed Tern, and Black Skimmer. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of all Redheads winter at Laguna Madre.



  • Remove feral cats, dogs, and pigs from barrier islands
  • Fence important beach areas to reduce predator access to nesting sites.
  • Dredge freshwater ponds to remove silt and deepen them
  • Develop conservation easements on private lands around Laguna Madre

ABC Results

ABC Results Button Key nesting and stopover sites in need of conservation have been identified
ABC Results Button ABC and Mexican partner Pronatura Noreste have recently begun trapping and removing dogs and other non-native species from islands within Laguna Madre
ABC Results Button 7 km of fencing has been restored on a private property adjacent to Laguna Madre to control cattle access and reduce erosion to important fresh water resources.


What Next?

What Next Button Develop conservation easement on a 5000-acre property at the southernmost end of Laguna Madre to ensure habitat protection for 20 years.
What Next Button Dredge three 50-acre ponds for improved waterfowl habitat.
What Next Button Install fencing around key nesting and stopover sites

Partners: This project is being executed by the Mexican organization Pron atura Noreste. Pronatura is one of the leading conservation organizations in Mexico with chapters in 5 regions of Mexico.

Supporters: This project is supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.