About Us

Ningret National Wildlife Refuge, Charlestown, Rhode Island - Salt Pond Unit and Kettle Pond Forested Upland Unit.

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is one of five national wildlife refuges in Rhode Island. Established in 1970, it consists of 858 acres of diverse upland and wetland habitats including grasslands, shrub lands, wooded swamps and freshwater ponds. Formerly part of Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Landing Fields, the refuge now provides visitors with over four miles of hiking trails. You may enjoy an excellent view of Ninigret Pond, the largest coastal salt pond in Rhode Island, from the observation platform at Grassy Point. For the birding enthusiasts, over 250 species of birds have been recorded at Ninigret. Also, refuge shores support a large diversity of marine life such as blue crab, bay scallop, and winter flounder.

The parcel of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge where the Kettle Pond Visitor Center is located is referred to as the headquarters unit. Purchased in 2001, this parcel of forested uplands is home to pitch and white pines, black and white oaks, blueberry shrubs, sweet fern, and princess pine. Hiking along the trails offer visitors a chance to witness visual reminders of the great ice sheet, see changes in the seasonal vernal pool, and views of Watchaug Pond.

Our Mission

Vision Statement

The Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex protects a unique collection of thriving coastal sandplain and beach strand communities, which represent some of the last undeveloped seacoast in southern New England.  Leading the way in the protection and restoration of wetlands and early successional coastal habitats, the Refuge Complex insures long-term sustainability of migratory and resident native populations, and contributes to the recovery of threatened and endangered species. 

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 establishment purposes for Ninigret Refuge are: “... for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds,” – Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929 “... particular value in carrying out the national migratory bird management program”

– Transfer of Certain Real Property for Conservation Purposes Act of 1972

Other Facilities in this Complex

The Rhode Island National Wildlife Complex consists of 5 national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
, Providence Urban Partnership, and management of Sandy Point Island: