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About the Complex

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A National Wildlife Refuge Complex is an administrative grouping of two or more refuges, wildlife management areas or other refuge conservation areas that are primarily managed from a central office location. 

Refuges are grouped into a complex structure because they occur in a similar ecological region, such as a watershed or specific habitat type, and have a related purpose and management needs. 

Typically, a project leader or complex manager oversees the general management of all refuges within the complex and refuge managers are responsible for operations at specific refuges. Supporting staff, composed of administrative, law enforcement, refuge manager, biological, visitor services, and maintenance professionals, are generally, but not always, centrally located and support all refuges within the complex.

  • Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

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    From nearly every viewpoint on the Oregon coast, colossal rocks can be seen jutting out of the Pacific Ocean. Each of these landforms is protected as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge includes 1,853 rocks, reefs and islands and two headland areas and spans 320 miles of the Oregon coast.

  • Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge

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    Designated as the first National Wildlife Refuge west of the Mississippi River, Three Arch Rocks Refuge lies half a mile offshore of the community of Oceanside. One of the Oregon coast's best-known landmarks, the refuge consists of three large and six smaller rocks totaling 15 acres. It's also a National Wilderness Area, one of the smallest in the country.

  • Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge

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    Established in 1938, Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge consists of vertical coastal cliffs, rock outcroppings, and rolling headlands with old-growth forest dominated by Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock. This small refuge protects one of the last stands of old-growth coastal forest in Oregon.

  • Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

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    Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge protects the largest remaining tidal salt marsh within the Coquille River estuary. Located near the mouth of the Coquille River, it is an oasis for migrating shorebirds, waterfowl and Coho Salmon.

  • Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge

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    The verdant pastures around Nestucca Bay harbor six subspecies of geese, including the world's entire population of Semidi Islands Aleutian Cackling geese, a subspecies of the Aleutian Cackling Goose. Also found here is the only coastal wintering population of Dusky Canada geese.

  • Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge

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    Representing some of the most photogenic estuarine habitat along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge was formerly pastureland, diked against the tides to accommodate dairy cows. These days, Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles and other raptors roost on salt-killed snags, and a variety of estuary-dependent birds including Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and many species of waterfowl forage in the tidally influenced waters.

Page Photo Credits — Haystack Rock, Oregon Islands NWR - Roy Lowe/USFWS, Three Arch Rocks NWR - Roy Lowe/USFWS, Cape Meares NWR - Roy Lowe/USFWS, Bandon Marsh NWR - Roy Lowe/USFWS, Nestucca Bay NWR - Roy Lowe/USFWS, Siletz Bay NWR - David Pitkin/USFWS
Last Updated: Sep 10, 2015
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