The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge was created from former Navy managed lands by congressional actions in 2001 and 2003. The Refuge consists of approximately 17,771 acres of land (3,100 acres on western Vieques and 14,671 acres on eastern Vieques. The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge is considered one of the most ecologically diverse wildlife refuges in the Caribbean and is the largest land National Wildlife Refuge in the Caribbean.
Large tracts of the Vieques NWR and its surrounding waters were designated as a superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The U.S. Navy is the Principal Responsible Party (PRP) for the cleanup on Vieques. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as the land managers, continue to work closely with the Navy, the EPA, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Municipality of Vieques and the community to ensure expedited and appropriate cleanup of the NWR lands within the site.
Purpose of the Refuge:
Section 1508 (d) of Public Law 106-398 dated October 30, 2000, established that the lands transferred to the Department of the Interior "shall be managed to protect and preserve the natural resources of the lands in perpetuity."
Objectives of the Vieques NWR are:
- To maintain this rare local subtropical dry forest habitat and wetlands ecosystem for resident and migratory birds and rare and endangered species
- To protect historical and archeological resource sites
- To provide a safe environment for people to enjoy wildlife oriented public use