About the Refuge

Monomoy lighthouse in the distance - USFWS.

 Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1944 to provide habitat for migratory birds. Sand stretches for eight miles off the elbow of Cape Cod, forming the barrier islands of North and South Monomoy. In addition to the two islands, a 40-acre unit on Morris Island is also part of the refuge. This is where the headquarters and visitor center are located. The total size of the refuge is 7,604 acres with varied habitats of oceans, salt and freshwater marshes, dunes, and freshwater ponds of which 3,244 acres are designated Wilderness. The refuge provides important resting, nesting and feeding habitat for migratory birds, including the Federally protected piping plover and roseate tern. More than ten species of seabirds, shorebirds, and waterbirds nest on the islands. The refuge also supports the second largest nesting colony of common terns on the Atlantic seaboard with over 8,000 nesting pairs.

One of Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge’s missions is to protect habitats critical to migratory shorebirds, spawning horseshoe crabs, and any other life that may reside on the refuge.

  • Monomoy is designated as an Important Bird Area and a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Regional site due to importance for migratory birds.
  • Approximately 94% of Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is designated as a Wilderness Area.


 Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge Brochure (pdf)

2017 Year in Review for Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (pdf)