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Currituck
National Wildlife Refuge


Terns and Sanderlings.
316 Marsh Causeway
Knotts Island, NC 27950-0039, NC   27950 - 0039
E-mail: mackayisland@fws.gov
Phone Number: 252-429-3100
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/currituck/
Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is home to a variety of shorebirds and other wildlife.
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  Overview
Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
Currituck NWR, located on the northern end of North Carolina's Outer Banks, was established in 1984 to preserve and protect the coastal barrier island ecosystem. Refuge lands are managed to provide wintering habitat for waterfowl and to protect endangered species such as piping plover, sea turtles, and sea beach amaranth.

Habitat types common to most barrier islands are found on the refuge. Moving westward from the Atlantic Ocean to Currituck Sound, these habitats include sandy beaches, grassy dunes, interdunal wetlands (flats), maritime forests and shrub thickets. Currituck Sound's shoreline is comprised of brackish water marshes and occasionally, mud flats that have been exposed by wind tides. A few forested islands also exist on the refuge. Monkey Island, a noted bird rookery, provides nesting habitat to several species of wading birds. Vegetation within these diverse habitat types include various types of beach grasses, live oak, loblolly pine, wax myrtle, cattails, sedges and rushes, black needlerush and giant cordgrass.

Various types of wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, mammals (including feral horses), reptiles, and amphibians common to the eastern United States, are found on the refuge. The endangered piping plover and loggerhead sea turtle sometimes nest on refuge beaches and dunes.


Getting There . . .
Currituck NWR consists of six seperate units all located between Corolla, NC and the NC/VA stateline. To access the refuge, follow NC Route 12 north until it ends in Corolla. At this point all traffic is diverted to the beach (four-wheel drive is required). The first refuge tract is located about 3/4-mile north of this point. Currituck NWR is managed by the staff at Mackay Island NWR, therefore, no building or other facilities exist on the refuge.


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Wildlife and Habitat

Transitioning from the ocean to the sound, habitats range from barren sandy beaches to grass covered dunes.

Other habitats include maritime forests dominated by live oak, loblolly pine and shrub thickets, as well as areas of brackish marsh consisting of black needle rush, giant cordgrass, cattails and a mixture of sedges and rushes. Mud flats are frequently exposed along the sound by wind tides. Ponds and grassy wetlands are scattered throughout the units of the refuge. There are even several islands in Currituck Sound that are part of the refuge, including Monkey Island and Marys Islands.

Wading birds, shorebirds, songbirds, and raptors (such as the osprey) are all commonly observed on the refuge. Arriving during the fall, several species of ducks, geese, as well as swans, coots, and mergansers use the refuge as their wintering area.

Mammals inhabiting the refuge include white-tailed deer, raccoons, muskrats, minks, fox, and opossum. Feral hogs, feral horses, and nutria (a large, non-native aquatic rodent) make the refuge their home. Several crab species can be seen along the shorelines of the beach and sound. Some of the rare and endangered species found on the refuge include the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, piping plover, loggerhead sea turtle, and seabeach amaranth.

An active wading bird rookery is located on Monkey Island. Several species of herons and egrets nest and raise their young here. Though closed to the public, from a boat you can see the adults and their young resting in the trees.

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History
Acquired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife in 1981, Currituck National Wildlife Refuge comprises several units of land located as far north as the VA/NC stateline and as far south as the area of Corolla, NC.

Monkey Island, now the location of a bird rookery, was home to a tribe of Indians called the Pamunkey Indians. Although the spelling of their name is uncertain, the island is named after the tribe. Artifacts suggest that the Indians were great fishermen.

In 1919 a private waterfowl hunting club named the Monkey Island Club was established. They used a hunting lodge and other buildings on the island. In 1974 the club changed ownership and was opened to the public to come and hunt waterfowl.

The Nature Conservancy later bought Monkey Island and a section of the barrier island. This area, now known as the Monkey Island Unit, was one of the first purchases by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as it establish Currituck National Wildlife Refuge.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Fishing
Hunting
Interpretation
Photography
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Currituck NWR consists of six seperate units all located between Corolla, NC and the NC/VA stateline. To access the refuge, follow NC Route 12 north until it ends in Corolla. At this point all traffic is diverted to the beach (four-wheel drive is required). The first refuge tract is located about 3/4-mile north of this point. Currituck NWR is managed by the staff at Mackay Island NWR, therefore, no building or other facilities exist on the refuge.