Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge is one of three refuges managed by the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Featherstone refuge is a narrow strip of land along the shore of the Potomac River and mouth of Neabsco Creek with a railroad right of way bordering the western edge. The refuge protects 325 acres of tidal marsh and riparian wetlands. Large “bottomland” hardwood trees provide suitable habitat with ample nest cavities for pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, barred owls and prothonotary warblers. Waterfowl enjoy the quiet and secluded waters of Farm Creek for dabbling in aquatic plant life and fishing for shad and herring. Bald eagles have maintained a nest within or adjacent to the refuge for a number of years. Mammals frequenting the refuge include white-tailed deer, red fox, raccoon, gray squirrel, and beaver.
Currently, public access to Featherstone NWR is limited. Access is restricted to a designated non-motorized boat water landing via the southern end of Farm Creek due to visitor safety concerns. A CSX Transportation railroad spans the length of the refuge carrying high speed passenger and freight trains. Water will be the only access point to the refuge until an agreement providing safe access across the railroad is reached among the refuge, CSX Transportation, and Virginia Railway Express.
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American black ducks have been observed using Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge year-round. The ducks congregate within Farm Creek, which provides highly suitable sheltered emergent wetlands. This preserved habitat is especially important for black ducks since the species is suffering from loss of breeding and wintering grounds throughout their range.