U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Ohio River Islands
National Wildlife Refuge

The refuge's Manchester islands rise abruptly from the Ohio River.
3982 Waverly Road
Williamstown, WV   26187
E-mail: OhioRiverIslands@fws.gov
Phone Number: 304-375-2923
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuges extends south to the Manchester islands in Kentucky.
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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Refuge boundaries extend to underwater areas around islands in West Virginia and Kentucky. A range of shallow and deep water habitats add to the diverse character of the islands and their wildlife. Though silent and unseen on the bottom of the river, native freshwater mussels are a key group of refuge wildlife. Many of the forty species here favor the sand and gravel habitat associated with the islands. These fascinating animals depend on fish hosts to complete their life cycles. Two endangered mussels, the fanshell and the pink mucket, occur on the refuge.

The islands offer birds places to feed and rest during migrations through the Ohio River corridor. Although many just pass through, some eighty bird species nest on the refuge, including tiny prothonotary and cerulean warblers. Great blue herons occupy several nesting rookeries, and osprey find abundant fish needed to raise their young. Winter brings another host of birds to the refuge, primarily waterfowl. Bufflehead, lesser scaup, and ring-necked ducks are common during some years. Bald eagles have been seen with increasing frequency during the past few years, especially during colder winters when northern feeding areas freeze over.

Whether on land or in the water, refuge habitats and wildlife are threatened by invasive exotic plants and animals. Japanese knotweed and other plants take over disturbed ground. Zebra mussels attach to native mussels and compete with them for food. Combating these pests represents a huge challenge for the refuge.

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