Texas State Aquarium’s Wildlife Response Operations Center (WROC) Prepared for Active Hurricane Season on the Gulf Coast

June 13, 2024

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The Texas State Aquarium is pleased to announce that the Wildlife Response Operations Center (WROC) stands ready to assist and care for Corpus Christi and South Texas coastal wildlife this hurricane season.

The WROC operates in partnership with multiple federal, state and local entities responsible for responding when a natural or manmade disaster occurs. Partners include Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas General Land Office, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the National Park Service, the U.S. Coast Guard and Port Corpus Christi.

The WROC serves not only as an emergency response hub but also as a location to plan for wildlife response before disaster strikes. Such disasters could include tropical weather, freezing temperatures, hazardous spills or fires. When a disaster strikes, the WROC will provide coordination and assistance to mitigate the impact of an event on the natural environment and wildlife. Levels of emergency activation are then assigned, and tiered response support is implemented.

Housed at the Aquarium’s Center for Wildlife Rescue, the WROC provides a fortified resource to monitor and help manage wildlife emergency response activities in South Texas and along the Texas Gulf Coast.  The facility is designed to withstand 150+ mph winds, support full emergency and backup power systems, and contains a robust infrastructure ensuring communication connectivity.

Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D. shared her excitement with the launch of the WROC this hurricane season by noting, “The Texas General Land Office is pleased to serve as a partner in the Wildlife Response Operations Center at the Texas State Aquarium. When a disaster strikes, it’s important to ensure there’s a robust emergency response when it comes to our unique wildlife. The launch of this vital operations center will ensure the proper coordination of emergency response activities in South Texas and along the Texas Gulf Coast.”

Captain Jason Gunning of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi states, “The Coast Guard strongly supports the WROC’s initiative to improve disaster and wildlife response along the Texas Coast. This voluntary capability will greatly enhance resiliency in the region and has already improved coordination across all the response organizations for any disaster impacting wildlife. I am grateful to have WROC ready to launch.”

Dr. Kelly M. Miller, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi President and CEO notes, “The Island University is proud of all of our partnerships with the Texas State Aquarium; however, this one is exceptional as it will bolster the resiliency of our local ecosystem. Together, we will combine our respective strengths, expertise, and resources to make a positive impact on the welfare and conservation of the region’s wildlife. We are honored to be the founding higher education institution of this alliance.”

“Our partnership with the Texas State Aquarium allows us to be a part of the WROC. We appreciate being part of a group of organizations in the Coastal Bend that care deeply about wildlife and coastal habitat,” mentions Eric Brunnemann, Superintendent of the National Park Services.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Departments Executive Director, Dr. David Yoskowitz shows his support for the center, stating, “Since the opening of the Wildlife Response Operations Center, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has utilized the facility to host meetings and participate in emergency wildlife response drills. The WROC functions as a unique model for wildlife agencies and organizations to meet and collaborate, develop and test contingency plans, and coordinate wildlife response operations. TPWD supports the WROC and its mission and looks forward to our continued partnership.”

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) Executive Director, Kelly Keel, says “Our partnership with the Wildlife Response Operations Center will provide us the opportunity to carry out our mission to protect the state’s public health and environment. This plays a critical role in collaborating with other agencies when disaster strikes. TCEQ is proud to stand with other state agencies and emergency response teams.”

To learn more about the Center for Wildlife Rescue or our conservation efforts, go to texasstateaquarium.org/wildlife-rescue.


About Texas State Aquarium     

The Texas State Aquarium (TSA), the Official Aquarium of the State of Texas, is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) institution that is fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Its mission is to engage people with animals, inspire appreciation for our seas and support wildlife conservation. TSA, the largest Aquarium in Texas, cares for over 4,000 animals and has been named the #5 Best Aquarium in North America by USA Today. Learn more at texasstateaquarium.org.


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Jennifer Vela

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