Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

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Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge
About the refuge:


Refuge Facts
Established: 1960.
Size: 8,320 acres (North Carolina and Virginia).
Located in Currituck Co., NC and the city of Virginia Beach, VA.
Location: the refuge office is located in North Carolina, one mile south of the Virginia state line on NC Route 615. To reach the refuge, take the free Currituck Sound Ferry in Currituck, NC on Route 168. The ferry lands at NC Route 615 at the south end of Knotts Island. Travel approximately 8.1 miles north to the refuge office.

Natural History
Found in the northern portion of Currituck Sound and the southern portion of Back Bay on a peninsula/island which juts into the Sound. Habitat ranges from freshwater and brackish marsh to upland and lowland eastern pine hardwood forest.
Concentrations of snow and Canada geese, ducks, osprey and other raptors, wading birds, and shorebirds. An active wood duck breeding population is present, along with one active bald eagle nest and many osprey nests.
Wetlands 6,420 acres; Woodlands 1,460 acres; Croplands 258 acres.
Several shorebird nesting areas and wading bird rookeries are located on the refuge.
Endangered and threatened species include: peregrine falcons and American bald eagles (active nesting pair).

Financial Impact of the Refuge
4-person staff.
75,000 visitors annually.

Refuge Objectives
Manage Existing refuge and neighboring wetlands to gain optimum waterfowl, wading bird, and shorebird use.
Restore Indian Creek Basin to its pre-Mackay Island Road (early 1920's) state.
Pursue, through state and local partnerships, the returning the natural flow of water north and south across the Great Marsh.
Pursue an active public use program with the communities of southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina.
Work with the "Friends" group related to preservation/restoration of the Currituck Sound.
Provide habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species.
Provide opportunities for public enjoyment of wildlife and wildlands resources. Public use programs focus on interpretation, environmental education, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and fishing.

Last Updated: 5/19/14