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About the Refuge

Slaughter Beach refuge sign - USFWS.

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a 10,144 acre refuge officially established in 1963 under the authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act “for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.” It is located on the west shore of the Delaware Bay, approximately 22 miles southeast of Dover, the State capital, and 64 miles southeast of Wilmington, Delaware.

The refuge is an important stopover site for migratory birds as they travel up and down the Atlantic Flyway and provides protected breeding habitat for federally and State-listed threatened and endangered species, as well as many neo-tropical migrating bird species. Prime Hook’s habitat features include salt marsh, freshwater marsh, ponds and impoundments, wooded swamps and upland grasslands and forest. Hundreds of native plant and animal species thrive in this mosaic of these diverse cover types that provide habitat for 308 species of birds, 51 species of fish, 45 species of reptiles and amphibians, 37 species of mammals, and an array of rare insect and plant species.

Due to Prime Hook’s strategic location on the Delaware Bay, the refuge has national conservation significance as a designated RAMSAR Wetland of International Significance Site (1999), American Bird Conservancy-Important Bird Area (2000), and a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site (1986).

Since the signing of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, appropriate public uses of the Refuge System include six major wildlife-dependent recreational uses and are: hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and environmental interpretation.

Activities, such as lecture programs, bird walks and educational activities are continuously updated and can be found throughout the website

The refuge may be visited ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset seven days a week.

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Brochure (pdf)

Last Updated: Nov 26, 2013
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