Mud Flats - Corpus Christi

Coastal Habitats

Bay Habitats

Mud Flats: Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi Bay is located in the lower one-third of the Texas Coast and is actually part of a bay system with the same name. In the Corpus Christi Bay System, there are four bays: Corpus Christi Bay, Nueces Bay, Oso Bay, and Redfish Bay.

Corpus mudflats
Corpus Christi Mud Flats

Corpus Christi Bay is bordered on the North by Redfish Bay; on the south by the upper Laguna Madre; on the east by Mustang Island; and on the west by the city of Corpus Christi.

The Corpus Christi Bay System has a total area of 124,796 acres with 127 miles of shoreline. The largest bay in this system is Corpus Christi Bay, which covers 95,997 acres. Nueces Bay is next largest at 19,518 acres. Oso Bay covers 17,095 acres. Redfish Bay is the smallest bay in this system, covering 5,258 acres. Corpus Christi Bay is the deepest of these four bays, with an average depth of 11 feet. The three other bays average about two to three feet in depth.

The only pass where Corpus Christi Bay waters are exchanged with the Gulf of Mexico waters is at Aransas Pass. This pass not only allows the exchange of water, but is also a major ship channel.

The general water circulation pattern in Corpus Christi Bay is a counterclockwise movement along the shoreline. Corpus Christi Bay is considered by many people to be one of the windiest bays on the Texas Coast. These winds usually blow from the southeast, except during the winter months, when "Northers" occasionally blow from the north.

Freshwater flows into the Corpus Christi Bay system from the Nueces River and Oso Creek. On an average year, the Corpus Christi system receives 314,000 acre-feet of water from these sources. The Nueces River empties into Nueces Bay and Oso Creek empties into Oso Bay. Both of these "secondary" bays empty into Corpus Christi Bay.


The southeast winds make Corpus Christi Bay ideal for the growing sport of windsurfing. For many years, windsurfers from all areas of the United States have come to the bay to learn, enjoy, and perfect their windsurfing skills. Beginners can find shallow and calm waters in which to learn windsurfing. Advanced and more daring windsurfers take on the challenge of the rougher and deeper waters of the bay. The city of Corpus Christi hosts a yearly windsurfing competition that draws entrants from from the US and other countries, and draws quite an audience to watch the spills and thrills of this sport.

The Port? Homeport!

The Aransas Pass, where the waters of the bay and waters of the Gulf are exchanged, is also a major ship channel. This pass is one of the deepest passes on the Texas Coast and has allowed the development of industries along the shores of the Corpus Christi Bay. The port of Corpus Christi is the sixth largest port in the United States. Ships from many countries arrive here daily to load and unload their goods.

One of the major products transported into the Port of Corpus Christi is oil. The nation's third largest petrochemical complex is located at Corpus Christi, and these refineries receive the oil and convert it to products we use daily, such as gasoline, plastics, and motor oil.

The Aransas Pass is also used by the United States Navy. The Navy developed a port in the City of Ingleside to house and maintain a fleet of mine warfare ships, called mine sweepers, and one aircraft carrier. The protection of an enclosed bay, like Corpus Christi Bay, and the easy access to the Gulf of Mexico made this an ideal location for our "Homeport". Many jobs and homes have developed because of this use of the bay by the Navy.

A Bay for the Birds, too!

Corpus Christi Bay is considered one of the premier bird watching spots in the world. Over 400 species of birds live here or pass through during different seasons. The bay's location makes it ideal for ducks, sandpipers,and warblers to stop and rest during their yearly migration south.

Some birds spend all winter here. For example, the red headed duck, which summers in the northern United States and Canada, migrates to Corpus Christi Bay and nearby bays each winter. Millions of hummingbirds stop in the Corpus Christi Bay area to feed and regain their energy during their fall and spring migrations. Thousands of people come to the area during the hummingbirds' fall migration to see these "jewels of the sky".

For more information about Rockport-Fulton's annual Hummer/Bird Celebration (usually held the weekend after Labor Day), contact the Rockport-Fulton Area Chamber of Commerce at 512-729-6445, or 1-800-242-0071.

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