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Elizabeth A. Morton
National Wildlife Refuge


Jessups Neck
2595 Noyak Rd.
Sag Harbor, NY   11963
E-mail: longislandrefuges@fws.gov
Phone Number: 631-286-0485
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/elizabeth_a_morton/
The Refuge's beach peninsula is closed to public use April-August to protect the Federally threatened piping plover during their breeding season.
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  Overview
Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge
Established December 27, 1954, through a donation by the Morton family, the 187-acre Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge boasts exceptionally diverse habitats including bay beach, a brackish pond, a freshwater pond, kettle holes, tidal flats, saltmarsh, freshwater marsh, shrub, grasslands, maritime oak forest, and red cedar. The refuge's diversity is not only critical to Long Island wildlife, but its picturesque quality is nothing short of an advertisement in a travel magazine!

Habitats along the beach attract many species including nesting piping plovers, roseate terns, least terns, common terns, and shorebirds. The waters surrounding the refuge are considered critical habitat for juvenile Kemp's Ridley sea turtles and are occasionally used by loggerhead sea turtles. Waterfowl use of the refuge peaks during the colder months. Long-tailed ducks, white winged scoter, goldeneye and black ducks will most likely be spotted during winter.

Much of the refuge is situated on a peninsula surrounded by Noyack and Little Peconic Bays. The north/south orientation of the peninsula makes the refuge important habitat for shorebirds, raptors and songbirds as they navigate the coastline during migration.


Getting There . . .
Sunrise Highway (Route 27) to Southampton, north onto North Sea Road (Route 38) for North Sea. Right onto Noyack Road and continue for 5 miles. Refuge entrance in on the left.


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Wildlife and Habitat

The refuge is an important corridor for migratory birds and has many other habitats that support a great deal of wildlife ...

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History
The Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge was established on December 27, 1954 as a gift from the Morton family under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act. The land has a long and varied history.

Of the 13 principle tribes on Long Island, the Montauks and Shinnekocks once occupied what is now the Morton Refuge. In 1640, John Farrington and John Jessup, settlers from Massachusetts, founded the colony of South Hampton. In 1679, John Jessup took ownership of the Refuge's peninsula known today as "Jessups Neck". Some say you can feel Jessup's spirit to this day, as his daughter, Abigail, died and was buried there in 1724.

In 1800, Isaac Osborn acquired the land and performed important agricultural experiments. He takes fame for being the first to introduce shorthorn cattle and merino sheep to Long Island.

Over the years, ownership of the land passed through two families. In 1954, Elizabeth A. Morton donated her family's land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who designated it as a national wildlife refuge because of its value to migratory birds.

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Management Activities
The Morton NWR is managed to protect a unique natural area for migratory birds. Management activities for beach-using and nesting species include beach nourishment activities, erecting nest exclosures, protective fencing for both plovers and terns and patrolling during the nesting season to ensure visitor cooperation with beach closures in order to minimize harm to nesting wildlife. Federal and New York State designated endangered/threatened species which use the closed beach areas include piping plover, least terns, roseate terns, common terns, and osprey.

Other management activities on the Morton NWR include brush hogging grasslands, impoundment management, songbird and wood duck nest box program, and erecting osprey nesting platforms. Wildlife inventory activities conducted at the refuge include monitoring piping plover and tern nest productivity, waterbird surveys, and breeding songbird surveys.