The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge is one of nine national wildlife refuges located in the Caribbean. Was created from former Navy managed lands by congressional actions in 2001 and 2003. It is open to the public year round. The Vieques NWR is the most ecologically diverse wildlife refuge as well as the one with the largest land mass in the Caribbean.
The Vieques NWR can be visited on both the western and eastern sides of Vieques, and is open to the public year-round. Entrance fees are not required. Currently, a major portion of the eastern wildlife refuge is closed to the public due to the danger of unexploded ordnance and the associated clean-up process.
Location and Contact Information
The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Vieques Island (municipality of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico) at approximately 7 miles east of the main island. It was created from former Navy managed lands by congressional actions in 2001 and 2003. This wildlife refuge is one of nine National Wildlife Refuges located in the Caribbean. It’s considered one the most ecologically diverse wildlife refuges in the Caribbean and land-wise it is the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the Caribbean.
What We Do
Invasive Species Control
The VNWR management and biology programs work with several partners to identify areas impacted by invasive plant and animal species. The Wildlife Refuge has control programs to create more suitable habitats for the restoration of native habitats, endemic and endangered species.
Wildland Firefighting Program
Fire is not a natural component of the habitat in Vieques, however, there a number fires set deliberately on and off the Vieques NWR. Our focus is to prevent catastrophic wildland fires and, when required, to combat these fires on the refuge and in areas adjacent to the refuge.
The Vieques NWR was created to maintain and preserve dry forest habitat and wetlands ecosystem for resident and migratory birds and threatened and endangered species.
Today, the Vieques NWR provides important habitat for native, migratory, rare and protected species. Sixteen federally-listed plant and animal species occur on the refuge and its surrounding waters.
Four (5) species of federally listed plants occur in the Vieques NWR, the cóbana negra (Stahlia monosperma), Calyptranthes thomasiana, Chamaecrista glandulosa var. mirabilis, Varronia rupicola and Matabuey (Goetzea elegans).
Aside from the five species of sea turtles found in the waters of Vieques, there are eleven species of snakes (including the endangered Puerto Rican boa), one fresh water turtle species and a large numbers of lizards (including invasive green iguanas).
Brown Pelican and Roseate Tern. The migratory Peregrine Falcon is found in winter. Species of concern are the following: Puerto Rican Broad-winged Hawk, Rudy duck, White crowned pigeon and White-cheeked Pintail.
Antillean manatee, blue whale, dolphins, orcas, fin whale, humpback whale and sei whale. The Vieques NWR does not manage these species.
Volunteers play an important role in conserving and protecting our wildlife and teaching our communities that their actions today determine the conservation legacy of tomorrow. More than 42,000 people volunteer their time and ideas each year to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Whether they work on the land, in a visitor center or with youth, they contribute to the conservation mission that reaches back more than a century.