Habitat Types


Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge is a typical southeastern United States coastal wetland system that has formed brackish marshes and forested swamps in the Coastal Plain region. There are no plant species that are federally listed as endangered known to occur on the refuge. The National Wetlands Inventory described the refuge as an estuarine emergent herbaceous or palustrine, forested wetland with deciduous or broad-leafed deciduous vegetation and a water regime ranging from temporarily flooded to semi-permanently flooded. The three natural communities within the refuge boundary are: tidal freshwater marsh, estuarine fringe loblolly pine forest, and mesic pine flatwoods. Other habitats have been altered or created by man.

  • Cropland


    The staff manages cropland on 298 acres of the refuge’s 8,219 acres. A cooperative farmer grows corn, wheat, and soybeans on 241 acres.

    Learn More
  • Estuarine Fringe Loblolly Pine Forest


    The estuarine fringe loblolly pine forest occurs on 1,329 acres of the refuge’s 8,219 acres on mineral hydric soils to the east and west of the brackish marsh.

    Learn More
  • Firebreaks


    The staff manages firebreaks on 8 acres (2 miles) of the refuges 8,219 acres to provide safe defensible edges from which to manage prescribed fires and wildfires. The staff manages the firebreaks to provide low-growing vegetation that will control erosion and produce forage for wildlife.

  • Mesic Pine Flatwoods


    Mesic pine flatwoods occur on 131 acres of the refuge’s 8,219 acres. It is found on the well-drained ridges near Knotts Island Road.

    Learn More
  • Moist Soil


    The staff manages moist soil units on 876 acres of the refuge’s 8,219 acres.

    Learn More
  • Roads


    The refuge manages 220 acres (9.2 miles) of roads and roadsides to provide administrative access and visibility along the roads. The staff manages the road surfaces to provide a safe, durable surface. They maintain the roadsides to provide a low-growing vegetative cover that will control erosion and produce forage for wildlife.

  • Tidal Freshwater Marsh


    Marshes occupy 4,774 acres of the refuge’s 8,219 acres and tend to occur on the peat soils in the center section of the refuge from Back Bay in the north to the Currituck Sound in the south.

    Learn More