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Pea Island
National Wildlife Refuge

Pea Island NWR is a popular resting, nesting, and feeding spot for more than 365 species of migratory birds.  Refuge visitors enjoy birding, paddling, surf fishing and more.
NC 12 south
for shipping: 100 Conservation Way, Manteo, NC 27954;
Rodanthe, NC   27968
E-mail: peaisland@fws.gov
Phone Number: 252-473-1131
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Hundreds of thousands of migrating birds and visitors "flock" to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to feed the body and spirit.
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Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 "as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife", including the greater snow goose and other migratory waterfowl. The Refuge lies on the north end of Hatteras Island, a coastal barrier island which is part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Banks. These islands are separated from the mainland by a series of marshes and shallow sounds up to 25 miles wide. Pea Island is a much-used feeding and resting area for many species of wintering waterfowl, migrating shorebirds, raptors, wading birds, and migrating songbirds. The 13 miles of ocean beach provide nesting habitat for loggerhead sea turtles, piping plover and several species of shorebirds. Peregrine falcons occur regularly during migration and bald eagles are occasionally seen. This small Refuge receives over 2.5 million visitors annually

Getting There . . .
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Outer Banks in Dare County, 14 miles south of Nags Head, NC. To reach the Refuge, take NC Highway 12 south from Nags Head and cross Oregon Inlet. Refuge signs direct visitors to the Pea Island Visitor Center, New Inlet Sound Access and beach access parking areas. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is serviced by the Norfolk International Airport (2-hour drive north) and Raleigh-Durham International Airport (4-hour drive west).

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Wildlife and Habitat

The Refuge is comprised of ocean beach, dunes, upland, fresh and brackish water ponds, salt flats, and salt marsh. The official Refuge bird list (Birds of the Outer Banks) boasts nearly 400 species. Other wildlife species include: 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, and 5 species (low number due to salt environment) of amphibians. Ducks, geese, swans, wading birds, shore birds, raptors, migrating songbirds are seasonally abundant on refuge. The Refuge has approximately 1,000 acres of manageable waterfowl impoundments. Several shorebird nesting areas and wading bird rookeries are located on the Refuge. Endangered and threatened species include: peregrine falcons, American bald eagles, loggerhead sea turtles, and piping plovers.

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Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was established on May 17, 1937. The Refuge contains 5,834 acres of land and has an associated 25,700 acres of Proclamation Boundary Waters in Pamlico Sound which are closed to hunting. Pea Island is located on the north end of Hatteras Island, a coastal barrier island and part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Banks. The Refuge is approximately 13 miles long (north to south), ranges from a quarter mile to 1 mile wide (from east to west), and is located 10 miles south of Nags Head, North Carolina on NC Highway 12. The area that is now Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was historically used for market waterfowl hunting, commercial fishing, farming, and livestock operations

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Management Activities
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has typical barrier island habitat enhanced by proven management programs to produce a high diversity of habitat types and associated wildlife species. Management activities focus on the conservation, protection, restoration and management of the refuge's unique barrier island habitat and associated wildlife. The Refuge's three brackish/freshwater impoundments form the hub of the management program. Water levels in the impoundments are manipulated through water control structures and pump stations, mimicking dry and wet periods found in natural wetlands and encouraging maximum forage production, mostly in the form of submerged aquatic vegetation. Timely draw-down in early spring produces optimum conditions for migrating shorebirds while flooding in late fall produces optimum feeding areas for wintering waterfowl. Prescribed burning and mechanical brush control are used to favor vegetation beneficial to certain species of wildlife such as the snow goose. Several census programs are in place to monitor wildlife populations including sea turtles, waterfowl and shorebirds.