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Corpus Christi Bay

Provided by Samuel Amoako-Atta
From: Armstrong, 1987; Britton and Morton, 1989; Texas Environmental Profiles, 2003; NEP - Corpus Christi, 2003

The Corpus Christi Bay is located in the southern Texas Coastal Bend, in a semi-arid region. Freshwater inflow is very low and the only sources of freshwater drainage to Corpus Christi Bay include the Nueces River and Oso Bay, from Oso Creek. The recently approved re-opening of Packery Channel in the southern reaches of the bay will provide another source of exchange in the near future. The Corpus Christi Bay system includes three of seven estuaries in Texas: Aransas, Corpus Christi and upper Laguna Madre. The system is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Mustang and North Padre Islands, with water exchange taking place almost exclusively through Aransas Pass.

The Corpus Christi Bay system has been designated as an estuary of national significance by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is surrounded predominantly by agriculture and ranching, as well as the city of Corpus Christi and town of Ingleside which support commercial shipping. The area is home to more than 490 species of birds and 234 species of fish.

Corpus Christi Bay

Coordinates:   27.79° N  97.30° W

Selected Characteristics: (USEPA, 1999)
Surface Area:   497 km2
Drainage Area:   49,700 km2
Average Daily FW Inflow:   34 m3/s
Average Depth:   3.0 m
Average Salinity:   22 ppt
Coastal Wetlands:   121 km2
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation:  53 km2

Armstrong, N.E. 1987. The ecology of open-bay bottoms of Texas: a community profile. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report 85(7.12). 104 pp.

Britton, J.C. and B. Morton. 1989. Shore Ecology of the Gulf of Mexico. University of Texas Press, Austin. 387 pp.

USEPA. 1999. Ecological condition of estuaries in the Gulf of Mexico. EPA 620-R-98-004. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Gulf Ecology Division, Gulf Breeze, Florida. 80 pp.

Corpus Christi Bay National Estuary Program. Located on the web at:

Texas Environmental Profiles - The National Estuary Program. Located on the web at:

Additional Information:
Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program
Texas Environmental Profiles - The National Estuary Program
Corpus Christi Bay National Estuary Project

Keywords:   Redfish Bay, Nueces, River, Bays, Estuaries, Shipping, Agriculture

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