The Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge contains more than 55 offshore islands and four coastal parcels, totaling more than 8,200 acres. The complex spans more than 250 miles of Maine coastline and includes five national wildlife refuges — Petit Manan, Cross Island, Franklin Island, Seal Island, and Pond Island. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the refuge complex as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The Service's primary focus at Maine Coastal Islands Refuge is restoring and managing colonies of nesting seabirds. Refuge islands provide habitat for common, Arctic, and endangered roseate terns; Atlantic puffins; razorbills; black guillemots; Leach's storm-petrels; herring, greater black-backed, and laughing gulls; double-crested and great cormorants; and common eiders. Over the last 25 years, the Service has worked to reverse the decline in these birds' populations. As a result, many species have returned to islands where they nested historically.
In addition to seabirds, wading birds and bald eagles nest on refuge islands. The mainland divisions provide habitat for songbirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl, as well as opportunities for bird watching and hiking.
Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Brochure (pdf)
We Are a Complex
The Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex is comprised of five individual refuges which span the coast of Maine and support an incredible diversity of habitats including, coastal islands, forested headlands, estuaries and freshwater wetlands. The five separate refuges are: Cross Island, Petit Manan, Seal Island, Franklin Island, and Pond Island national wildlife refuges. Each has separate establishment histories and refuge purposes as described below, but they are referred to collectively as the “Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges”. Seal, Franklin, and Pond islands are single-island refuges. Cross Island Refuge is a six-island complex, while Petit Manan Refuge includes 49 islands and 4 mainland divisions, including: Petit Manan Point (2,195 acres), Sawyers Marsh (1,028 acres), Gouldsboro Bay (623 acres) divisions and Corea Heath (431 acres).
All totaled, the refuge includes approximately 8,238 acres of diverse coastal Maine habitats including forested and non-forested offshore islands, coastal salt marsh, open field, and upland mature spruce-fir forest.
Due to budget limitations, Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Milford, Maine currently has no staff and is managed by Maine Coastal Islands NWRs staff.