Youth Fishing Fun Day

Our annual Youth Fishing Fun Day is coming up Saturday, June 4!  Learn more about it here.

Youth Conservation Corps (YCC)

Information and applications for the 2022 YCC summer work program for youth can be found here.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway.
Hunting and Fishing Plan Available for Public Comment

The Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex is seeking public review and comment on our proposed hunting and fishing plans for Blackwater and Eastern Neck NWRs. The public is invited to review the draft document for our proposed changes, which includes the Draft Hunting and Recreational Fishing Plans, Compatibility Determinations, and Environmental Assessment. This document will be available for no less than a 60-day comment period. See the press release here.

The full draft is available for review at Draft Hunting and Fishing Plan for Chesapeake Marshlands NWR Complex. There will be an open house on June 9th from 4pm-7pm at the Environmental Education building at the beginning of Wildlife Drive at Blackwater NWR. This is an opportunity to discuss the proposed changes and to provide your comments on the draft plans.

The comment period will stay open for no less than 60 days after the publishing of the "2022–2023 Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations," which will be announced in the Federal Register. If you wish to comment, please note "Chesapeake Marshlands NWRC" in the subject line of an email, and send to HuntFishRuleComments@fws.gov.  Comments may also be mailed to the refuge (see below for street address), provided at the open house, received by phone at 410-221-2034 or emailed to matt_whitbeck@fws.gov.

Visit Us

With over 20,000 acres open for public recreation, you can experience the refuge year round in a variety of ways!  From 5 miles of hiking to 17 miles of paddling, we have a variety of experiences.  Nearly 15,000 acres are open for deer hunting from September through January.  If you prefer to travel by car, we have 3.6 mile wildlife drive popular with photographers and birders alike.

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located 12 miles south of Cambridge, Maryland, was established in 1933 as a refuge for migratory birds. Habitats of the refuge include rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and loblolly pine forests, managed freshwater wetlands and croplands. It serves as an important resting and feeding area for migrating and wintering waterfowl, and is one of the chief wintering areas for Canada geese using the Atlantic Flyway. The refuge supports one of the highest concentrations of nesting bald eagles on the Atlantic coast.

      Our Species

      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. It serves as an important resting and feeding area for migrating and wintering waterfowl, and is one of the chief wintering areas for Canada geese using the Atlantic Flyway. 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.

      Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel
      eastern fox squirrel
      This large, slate grey tree squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus) has an unusually full, fluffy tail and white belly. Larger than common gray squirrels, this fox squirrel subspecies measures up to 28 inches long and weighs up to three pounds. Once found throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, the range was...
      FWS Focus
      Bald Eagle

      A large raptor, the bald eagle has a wingspread of about seven feet. Adults have a dark brown body and wings, white head and tail, and a yellow beak. Juveniles are mostly brown with white mottling on the body, tail, and undersides of wings. Adult plumage usually is obtained by the sixth year. In...

      FWS Focus
      Great Blue Heron
      FWS Focus
      Muskbeaver
      Muskrat
      Common Muskrat
      Northern Pintail
      FWS Focus
      Brown-headed Nuthatch
      FWS Focus
      Pileated Woodpecker
      FWS Focus
      Northern Water Snake
      Northern Watersnake