Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Refuge Quick Facts

Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS

Jane Griess - Project Leader
Shaw Davis - Deputy Project Leader
Scott Gilje - Refuge Operations Specialist

  • Established: 1924 as a bird refuge and as an experiment station for the acclimatization of certain foreign game birds.
  • Acres: 5,618 (1,163 freshwater impoundments/marsh; 2,000 saltwater marsh; 2,115 pine and oak forests; and 340 sand beach).
  • Location: McIntosh County, Georgia, five miles north of Eulonia, GA, then six miles east on Harris Neck Road, then 18 miles southeast by boat.
  • Federal ownership since 1800, first by Department of Navy, then Fish and Wildlife Service
  • 1880-1910: served as South Atlantic Quarantine Station.
  • Established as a wildlife preserve in 1924 and formally a national wildlife refuge in 1940.
  • Wilderness area consisting of 3,000 acres designated in 1975.
  • Notable concentrations of waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, songbirds, raptors, deer and alligators.

Financial Impact of the Refuge

  • Over 11,000 visitors annually.
  • Blackbeard Island NWR is part of a seven-refuge complex that has an annual budget of $3,434,000 (FY 2006) and a combined staff of 29, two of which are assigned to this refuge part-time.

Refuge Objectives

  • Provide wintering habitat and protection for migratory birds.
  • Provide protection and habitat to promote resident and migratory wildlife diversity.
  • Provide protection and management for endangered and threatened plant and animal species (loggerhead sea turtle, American bald eagle, American alligator, wood stork, piping plover).
  • Provide environmental education, interpretation and recreational opportunities to the visiting public.

Management Tools

  • Water level management for waterfowl, shorebirds, wood storks and wading birds.
  • Mowing/discing.
  • Prescribed fire.
  • Mechanical/chemical control of noxious plants.
  • Public hunting for deer population management.
  • Education/Interpretation.
  • Law enforcement.
  • Partnerships.

Public Use Opportunities

  • Hiking/biking/trails.
  • Wildlife observation and photography
  • Hunting
  • Fishing/shrimping/crabbing
  • Environmental education/interpretation
  • Sea kayaking
  • Daytime beach use


Last updated: April 17, 2009