11978 Turkle Pond Rd
Wildlife & Habitat
The goal of refuge management is to provide habitat for a diversity of native fish, wildlife and plants. The mix of wetlands, uplands and forest on the refuge are home to a wide variety of native birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants.
Strategically located on the Atlantic Flyway, the refuge manages 4,200 acres of impounded marshes to provide feeding and resting areas for migrating birds in particular, waterfowl and shorebirds. Through a series of dikes and water control structures, the refuge lowers water levels in the spring. Lower water levels allow the growth of annual marsh plants like wild rice, millet and beggars tick. It also provides a place for migrating shorebirds to feed in the spring and nesting areas for wading birds like black-necked stilts in the summer. Higher water levels in the fall and winter make the seeds of annual plants available for the thousands of migrating ducks and geese. Over 100,000 snow geese and 80,000 ducks can be found at the refuge during peak fall migration.
The refuge's 2,300 acres of tidal saltmarsh are not intensively managed but protect a rapidly diminishing habitat type on the east coast. Tidal saltmarsh communities are particularly important nursing grounds for young fish and crabs.
Upland areas are a relatively small component of refuge habitat but are important to many species. Most of the refuge forests are a mix of pine, oak, hickory, poplar, and maple species which tolerate flooding. These forests are important to migrating songbirds who pass through the refuge in the Spring and Fall to fuel up for their journey to the north. Many species of salamanders, lizards, turtles, frogs and toads live in refuge forests. In 1986, the Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel was reintroduced to refuge forests. Since then, efforts have focused on monitoring the population and enhancing refuge forests.
Grasslands are managed to provide benefits to resident and migrating species. While kestrels, red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures patrol; quail and turkeys feed in these fields.
To learn more about wildlife found at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, or even in your own backyard, check out our factsheets!
The Delaware Natural Heritage Program (DNHP) is part of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The program was established in Delaware in 1987. The DNHP is recognized as the lead agency for the identification and ranking of Delaware’s native flora. Its mission is to track the status of rare and uncommon species of plants and animals, as well as pristine and unique natural community types. Through systematic state-wide field surveys, the DNHP has compiled and continues to constantly update a database containing thousands of records of state rare plants, animals and unique natural communities that are of conservation concern. This information is used by government agencies and conservation organizations to guide habitat management conservation and protection efforts. To find out more check out the DNHP website: http://www.dnrec.state.de.us/nhp/
The Delaware Native Plant Society (DNPS) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to participate in and encourage the preservation, conservation, restoration and propagation of Delaware’s native plants and plant communities. The DNPS provide information to government officials, business people, educators, and the general public on the protection, management and restoration of native plant ecosystems. The DNPS works hard to encourage the use of native plants in the landscape by homeowners, businesses, local, state, and federal governments through an on-going distribution of information and knowledge by means of special publications, conferences, workshops and field experiences. For more information visit http://www.delawarenativeplants.org.