U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Bombay Hook
National Wildlife Refuge

The Hooded Merganser is one of over 250 bird species that visit Bombay Hook and its 16,000 acres of rich habitat.
2591 Whitehall Neck Road
Smyrna, DE   19977
E-mail: fw5rw_bhnwr@fws.gov
Phone Number: 302-653-9345
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
The Hooded Merganser is one of over 250 bird species that visit Bombay Hook and its 16,251 acres of rich habitat.
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In 1937, 13,100 acres, mostly tidal salt marsh stretching eight miles along Delaware Bay, were purchased to establish Bombay Hook Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. From 1938 to 1942, a company of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) made up entirely of Afro-Americans built the refuge that by 1939 was called Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. They cleared wooded swamps and built a dike to create Raymond and Shearness Pools and a causeway to separate Shearness and Finis Pools, creating three freshwater impoundments; they planted over fifty thousand trees; and they built a headquarters building, a boathouse and marine railway, an observation tower, and houses for the manager and a patrolman. During World War II the refuge was used as a gunnery range and for research on aerial rockets.

In 1961, the fourth freshwater impoundment, Bear Swamp Pool, was added, making a total of 1,100 acres of freshwater ponds that through techniques developed over the years are carefully managed to vary water levels for thousands of visiting waterfowl and shorebirds. Small additions have been made to the refuge since 1937, the last in 1993, bringing the total to 16,251 acres. Management of the refuge, including development of fifteen moist soil areas, warm season grass fields, and habitat diversity has significantly increased wildlife use of the refuge, particularly the bird populations.

An added feature of the refuge is the Allee House, a 1753 plantation house, built by a French Huguenot family was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

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