Visit the new National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center or take a virtual tour of the wild locations it represents!
US Fish and Wildlife Service - Working for YOU
A young girl
takes a sip of hot chocolate to fight the cold as she waits for the
sun to rise. Beside her sits her dad, glancing at the eastern sky.
It’s her first duck hunt and they’re sitting in a duck
blind on the shore of North Carolina’s largest lake, Lake Mattamuskeet.
Lake Mattamuskeet is just one of 10 National Wildlife Refuges in North
Carolina, part of the only system of federal lands devoted to wildlife – lands
managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For humans they’re
a place to take your child duck hunting, or where birders can learn
the difference between sand pipers. For wildlife, these refuges provide
key habitat for wildlife, acting as a rest stop for migratory geese,
or a nesting site for rare sea turtles.
North Carolina is home to a number of rare species found no where else in the world, like the Waccamaw silverside, a tiny fish found only in Lake Waccamaw, or the Noonday globe snail, a snail found on only one side of the Nanatahala River Gorge in western North Carolina. The Service makes certain rare and imperiled species get the protection they need – through listing them to the federal list of threatened and endangered species, working to recover them; and reviewing certain projects to minimize or eliminate impacts to listed species. The Fish and Wildlife Service also reviews projects funded or authorized by the federal government to minimize impacts to aquatic ecosystems and migratory birds.
Ducks are a common sight flying over the lowlands of eastern North Carolina, while the state’s mountain forests are filled with the sounds of song birds. Since birds like these routinely migrate over, not only state lines, but international boundaries as well, the Fish and Wildlife Service, as the nation’s wildlife agency, has an integral role in the conservation of these species, from working national and international partners to protect important habitat to working with states to ensure that waterfowl hunters have plenty of game year after year.
While duck hunters look forward to duck season, anglers in North Carolina’s sounds anxiously await striped bass season. This large game fish was once a rarity, but thanks in part to the Service’s Edenton National Fish Hatchery, which raises and releases striped bass, the fishery is healthier than it has been in years. The Service’s fisheries program has been key in protecting and managing our nation’s fish and aquatic resources for more than 120 years.
The Service’s law enforcement officers work to ensure that the nation’s wildlife laws aren’t being violated. This includes working on issues as exotic as the illegal trade in black bear gall bladders to fuel demand in Chinese medicine markets, to working with other agencies to stop the poaching of rare plants from federal lands.
North Carolina, from the mountains to the sea, has a rich natural heritage, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a key player in the effort to protect that heritage, for current and future generations.