Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is home to an incredible amount of plant and animal diversity in its three major habitats – forest, marsh and shallow water. The refuge contains one-third of Maryland's tidal wetlands, which makes it an ecologically important area within the state. These wetlands also provide storm protection to lower Dorchester County, including the town of Cambridge. Blackwater NWR is recognized as a "Wetland of International Importance" by the Ramsar Convention and was named a priority wetland in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. In addition, Blackwater NWR has been designated as an Internationally Important Bird Area.
Blackwater NWR is home to the largest natural population of formerly endangered Delmarva peninsula fox squirrels and is also home to the largest breeding population of American bald eagles on the East Coast, north of Florida.
The refuge has been referred to as the "Everglades of the North," and has been called one of the "Last Great Places" by the Nature Conservancy.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Brochure (pdf)