Costa Grande Ranch
With scattered motts of coastal live oak, intact wetlands, coastal prairies, and a range of fishery habitats.
Costa Grande Ranch is remarkably diverse with its scattered motts of coastal live oak, intact wetlands, coastal prairies, and a range of fishery habitats. Proper range management such as prescribed burning, disking, spike treatment, brush management, contouring, and water control structures have furthered these natural features to provide for a huge diversity of wildlife resources. These features, combined with extensive waterfront and private shoreline access, creates one of the most recreation rich ranches in Texas!
The ranch is literally surrounded by Coastal Protected Areas being across the street from Powderhorn Wildlife Management Area and the future Powderhorn Ranch State Park and in context to others including Matagorda Island WMA, Mad Island WMA, Welder Flats WMA, Guadalupe Delta WMA, three units of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and thousands of acres of private preserves and conservation easements. Additionally, a million acres of state and federal waters for hunting, fishing, and recreation connect them all.
Costa Grande Ranch is located along the waterfront of the Texas Gulf Coast in Calhoun County just 3 miles west of Port O’Connor, 75 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, 110 miles southwest of Houston and 130 miles southeast of San Antonio. The ranch fronts on the south side of state highway 185 for over 2 miles and along the shoreline of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway for 2.5 miles. The ranch also has access from a private, gated ranch community easement through neighboring properties.
The ranch is high fenced along the west boundary and low-fenced along the remaining three sides and into multiple working pastures. Through a series of raised and constructed roads, mowed lanes, and adjoining public roads there is great access to much of the ranch even in wet conditions. Multiple submersible and solar well are scattered throughout the ranch and connected through a substantial system of pipes and storage to various locations.
The ranch has a large equipment barn, sheds, and working/shipping pens on the western portion, with 7 individual building sites scattered amongst the various areas of the ranch. Each with ability to construct a home, guesthouse, pool, outbuildings, sheds, barns, and other infrastructure in the future. The 23 -acre portion which is not subject to a conservation easement can be improved significantly and an ideal location for a fishing or hunting lodge with waterfront access.
Habitat and Wildlife
Costa Grande Ranch lies within the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion and is part of the Ingleside barrier-strand plain geologic system, a unique Pleistocene coastal system limited to a narrow band stretching from Calhoun County to Kleberg County, much of which has been impacted with development. Many say the habitats at Costa Grande are very similar to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. This system is characterized by a diverse complex of soils, and habitat associations, including live oak mottes, coastal prairie, sand barrens, freshwater marshes, and freshwater pothole pond along Live Oak Bayou. Tidal bayous, brackish emergent marshes, saltwater lakes, and channels further enhance the ranches biological diversity. This broad soil diversity supports a unique assemblage of native grasses, forbs, brush, and trees.
The wildlife resources on Costa Grande are “refuge quality” not only in game but also in non-game species. Hunting, birding, photography, and just enjoying the array of wildlife is easy to do within this diverse assemblage of habitats. Fresh and Coastal waters are home to a wide array of wintering waterfowl, shorebirds, and waterbirds such as ducks, geese, cranes, stilts, plovers, egrets, bitterns, and herons. Sandy soils, prairies and oak mott woodlands provide world class bobwhite quail, native whitetail deer, and turkey hunting.
The large motts and woodlands of Live Oak trees provide exceptional fall-out habitat for neotropical songbirds during spring and fall migration. At times the diversity of warblers, oriels, vireos, tanagers, and hummingbirds foraging and resting in the trees are unbelievable.
Fishing on the ranch and in adjacent waters is world class, and on Costa Grande Ranch is located literally at your doorstep. Redfish, trout, flounder, and drum are all part of the fishery that makes Port O’Connor a fishing destination. With the jettied pass out into the Gulf, offshore fishing for billfish, snapper, ling, and tuna are all possible. The Poco Bueno tournament in Port O’Connor is known across the country as one of the best for its bay and offshore divisions.
Conservation and Management
The ranch is made up of 7 individual tracts that each were placed under their own Conservation Easements in 2016 as part of a comprehensive plan to implement a wildlife and landscape Conservation Strategy while simultaneously preserving and providing for the future recreation development and usage of each of the 7 properties both individually or as a whole. Each of the tracts and easements allows for the ability to improve with homes, lodges and recreational infrastructure including the ability to construct multiple pier and dock access point to the Intracoastal Canal. One 23-acre portion is an 8th tract that is not protected by a Conservation Easement, this tract is centrally located and being on the waterfront is the prime location for a significant hunting and fishing lodge and waterfront access.
Hand in hand with the conservation strategies on the ranch, significant improvement has been made in habitat management, infrastructure, and wildlife management. Prescribed burning has been an ideal tool for coastal prairie management and regular use of it has had significant impact on the health of the native range. Ranching livestock has been the traditional use of this ranch over past generations and is still a part of the management and use of the ranch today. In 2020 the properties were enrolled with the Texas Wetland Prairie Program, a cooperative led by US Fish and Wildlife Service, NRCS and Ducks Unlimited for assistance in enhancing and restoring coastal wetlands. This has allowed for enhancements for over 38 acres of wetlands and installing/upgrading water wells to ensure controlled flooding can occur. This objective is for waterfowl, as well as threatened and rare species such as the Mottled Duck and Whooping Cranes (both of which have been spotted on the enhanced wetlands) to find migratory refuge on the ranch.