National Wildlife Refuge System

Scenic Views of Brigantine Wilderness Area Scenic Views of Brigantine Wilderness Area Scenic Views of Brigantine Wilderness Area Scenic Views of Brigantine Wilderness Area

Edwin B. Forsythe NWR - Brigantine Wilderness


About Brigantine Wilderness


Brigantine Wilderness
Brigantine Wilderness

Brigantine Wilderness, shown in green in the map to the right, is located in southern New Jersey on the Atlantic Coast, about 11 miles north of Atlantic City. The 6,600 acre wilderness area, located within the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), comprises four areas: the Holgate Peninsula, Little Beach Island and the marshes west of the island, and two areas near the mouth of the Mullica River. Habitat includes primarily salt marsh, beach, and dune, with a small area of hardwood upland on Little Beach Island.

The Edwin B. Forsythe NWR is on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance and is part of the Marine Estuarine Reserve Research System. Species that use the refuge include the Atlantic brant, American black duck, peregrine falcon, osprey and bald eagle. Upland species include songbirds, woodcock, white-tailed deer and the box turtle. Threatened species include the piping plover.


Refuge Area and Class I Designation

  • In 1975, Congress designated Brigantine as a wilderness area, declaring that the area should remain undeveloped and "unimpaired" for future generations. The wilderness was established to preserve refuge wetlands for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and other wildlife, and contains New Jersey 's only undeveloped barrier island.
  • In 1977, Congress acknowledged the uniqueness of the Brigantine Wilderness Area by naming it as a Class I air quality area. As a wilderness area it is afforded special protection under the Clean Air Act.
  • Congress gave the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), as the Federal Land Manager of the Brigantine Wilderness Area, the responsibility to protect the air quality and air quality related values (AQRVs) of the area from man-made air pollution. Despite this protection, many sources of man-made air pollution affect Brigantine Wilderness area including industry, power plants, and automobiles
  • The FWS and the NJDEPE work cooperatively with industry and regional utilities to control air pollutant emissions in order to protect Brigantine.
  • If Brigantine is not protected, unique wildlife and scenic values will be threatened or even lost, as has happened along much of the Atlantic Coast. The FWS hopes to preserve and protect this special area of wilderness for future generations.


Learn more about air quality at Brigantine


The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy (NJDEPE) operates continuous sulfur dioxide and ozone monitors at the Nacote Creek Station at the west side of the refuge. The ozone monitor has recorded numerous violations of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, and the entire state is non-attainment for ozone. In addition, FWS monitors air quality in Brigantine in partnership with two national programs. Atmospheric pollutants in rain are analyzed as part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program. And, fine particles responsible for visibility impairment are measured as part of the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) program. FWS, in partnership with multiple groups and programs, is able to determine the impacts of pollutants on the Brigantine Wilderness Area. Within this website are the resources to discover why air pollution poses a threat to Brigantine Wilderness and what the FWS is doing to prevent the deterioration of air quality in this pristine area.

  • Learn the basics of air quality - Air Quality
  • Understand what are the air quality related values - AQRV
  • Learn about how air quality can affect natural and scenic resources - Impacts
  • Find real time monitoring data and studies being performed at the wilderness area - Studies & Monitoring



Additional Information:
Regional Air Quality Information (as provided by NPS)
Brigantine NWR Website
Brigantine NWR 300km Radius Map (PDF 613KB)

Last updated: November 7, 2012