About Us

Chassahowitzka NWR was established in 1943 for waterfowl conservation. The refuge protects saltwater bays, estuaries, brackish marshes, and hardwood swamps in Homosassa, FL.  

In 1970, the refuge lands within Citrus County were designated as wilderness. Today, the refuge provides habitat for one federally threatened species, the West Indian manatee. 

The Chassahowitzka NWR is a part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. 

Our Mission

Chassahowitzka NWR will strive to preserve, restore, and enhance the exceptional diversity of native flora and fauna in the estuarine habitat located in west-central Florida for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. 

Chassahowitzka NWR habitat management goals will seek to maintain a healthy refuge environment that will provide opportunities for visitors to enjoy wildlife-dependent uses of the refuge in a natural setting. Interpreting a unique assemblage of habitats, wildlife and the refuge’s historical heritage, as well as improving facilities that will enhance the visitor’s experience while protecting the ecological integrity of the area.  

To meet these challenges, the Service will seek partnerships with other agencies, interest groups, and local communities. These efforts will result in greater protection of wildlife, fish, bird, and plant resources throughout west-central Florida. 

Refuge Purpose

Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System is established to serve a statutory purpose that targets the conservation of native species dependent on its lands and waters. All activities on those acres are reviewed for compatibility with this statutory purpose.  

The purpose of the refuge is as follows: 

  1. to provide an inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds 
  2. to provide fish and wildlife-oriented recreational opportunities 
  3. to protect and conserve fish and wildlife resources 

Our History

1943 - Establishment of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge 

1970 - Refuge lands within Citrus County designated as wilderness 

2010 - Salt Marsh Trails project completed and donated to Chassahowitzka NWR