John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum (NWR, refuge) currently includes 993 acres of the 1,200 acres within its approved acquisition boundary. The refuge protects over 200 acres of the last remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania. It is an important migratory stopover along the Atlantic Flyway, and provides protected breeding habitat for State-listed threatened and endangered species, as well as many neotropical migratory birds (Cohen 2004). The refuge is located in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
John Heinz NWR includes a variety of important resources and also provides a unique opportunity for education and outreach near the urban center of the city of Philadelphia, the nation’s fifth largest metropolitan area (U.S. Census Bureau 2011). Sustaining and protecting these resources requires planning, active on-the-ground management, and partnerships with the surrounding communities of the Delaware Valley.
John Heinz NWR is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS, the Service, our, we) as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System). The Refuge System maintains the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of natural resources on lands within it for the benefit of present and future generations.
In 2012, John Heinz NWR developed a comprehensive conservation plan. The purpose of a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) is to specify a management direction for the refuge for the next 15 years. The goals, objectives, and strategies for improving refuge conditions—including the types of habitat we will provide, partnership opportunities, and management actions needed to achieve desired conditions – are described in the CCP. Visit our comprehensive conservation planning page.
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The refuge protects a variety of habitats for birds in the highly urbanized landscape of greater Philadelphia. It has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. While most of the 300 plus avian species identified at the refuge utilize it as a migratory stopover, more than 80 species have been recorded nesting on the refuge over the years. Several species are also state listed as either threatened or endangered species or species of state or national management concern.