Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

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Collage of Pictures - Swimming Duck - 3 Kayakers in the water, Pine Forest, Aerial view of Cedar Island


Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, located in Carteret County, North Carolina is on the end of a peninsula marking the southern end of Pamlico Sound. The refuge lies five miles West of the Atlantic ocean and about 40 miles northeast of Beaufort, North Carolina. Established in 1964, the refuge consists of approximately 11,000 acres of irregularly-flooded, brackish marsh and 3,480 acres of pocosin and woodland habitat. The dominant marsh plants include black needlerush, saltmarsh cordgrass, saltmeadow hay, and saltgrass. The woodland areas are dominated by loblolly, longleaf and pond pine. Live oak is also abundant on some upland sites. The marsh and surrounding waters provide wintering habitat for thousands of ducks and nesting habitat for colonial waterbirds.

Refuge Facts

  • Established: 1964.
  • Acres: 14,480.
  • Location: the refuge is approximately 40 miles northeast of Beaufort, NC by U.S. Highway 70 and NC Highway 12 along the confluence of the Pamlico and Core Sounds, located in Carteret County, NC.


Natural History

  • Refuge's main feature is an extensive, relatively undisturbed coastal marsh.
  • Concentrations of diving ducks (lesser scaups, redheads, canvasbacks, buffleheads), sea ducks, American black ducks, black rails, wading birds, and shorebirds. Shorebird and osprey nesting occurs on beaches, islands and points.
  • Habitat consists of irregularly flooded brackish marsh (11,000 acres) and forested wetlands (3,480 acres).


Financial Impact of Refuge


Refuge Objectives

  • Provide habitat and protection for endangered species such as American alligators and brown pelicans.
  • Provide habitat and protection for migratory waterfowl and other birds.
  • Provide wildlife-related recreation and environmental education for the public.
Last Updated: 3/19/13