Management of the area focuses on protection of habitat and nesting sites. Current practices are mostly passive with natural processes within the hardwood forest maintaining the desired habitat. Surveys are conducted for eagle nesting, production, and wintering and heron nesting and production. A 90-acre impoundment is managed to provide feeding areas for juvenile heron and eagles. Disturbance to nesting areas is managed by limiting public access. Habitat recovery and white-tailed deer population reduction and deer health enhancement is the focus of the refuge deer hunting program.
The refuge is part of the Mason Neck Management Area. The refuge, Mason Neck State Park, Gunston Hall, Pohick Bay Regional Park, and BLM’s Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area protect more than 6000 acres of the Mason Neck peninsula. The agencies cooperate in the management activities on their combined lands. This cooperation provides the public with a wide variety of recreational activities while protecting the natural resources of the area.
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In the early 1960’s a developer sought out land on Mason Neck to build a planned community and airport. Elizabeth Spears Hartwell, a local resident, who valued the pristine nature of the peninsula, organized an effort to stop this development. She recognized the potential of the Mason Neck peninsula as a safe haven for the endangered bald eagles along the Potomac River.