National Wildlife Refuge
|C/O Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
8231 Beach Road
Chincoteague, VA 23336
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Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge
The Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge was created on July 10, 1975 when 373 acres of land were transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The refuge, comprised mainly of salt marsh and woodlands, is located east of Wattsville in Accomack County, Virginia and contains habitat for a variety of trust species, including upland- and wetland-dependent migratory birds. Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has an agreement with NASA to use the NASA-owned portion of Wallops Island proper on a non-interference basis for research and management of declining wildlife in special need of protection. The agreement with NASA covers approximately 3,000 acres of Wallops Island proper and is primarily salt marsh. Wallops Island NWR and the agreement with NASA are administered by the staff at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
A sea-level fen, known as the Simoneston Bay sea-level fen, exist on and is protected by the refuge. Sea-level fens are nutrient-poor, maritime seepage wetlands, confined to a few sites with an unusual combination of environmental conditions for the mid-Atlantic. The fen is located just above the highest tide levels, at the base of a slope where abundant groundwater discharges. Only four occurrences are known in Virginia.
The Wallops Island NWR was opened for the first time ever to public hunting in 2002 to reduce the affects of overbrowsing by deer on refuge habitats and reduce the potential of deer collision with vehicles on the adjacent state highway 175 and neighboring flight facility.
Getting There . . .
From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel near Norfolk, Virginia, take US 13 North to State Route 175 East Approximately 5 miles. Refuge will be on your right.
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Refuge management activities are centered around refuge goals to preserve, enhance, protect and improve habitat for migratory bird species. The refuge staff conducts population and abundance surveys of trust resources including bald eagle, piping plover, Wilson's plover, American oystercatcher, shorebirds, and other waterbirds. The Refuge maintains about 35 acres in open areas to provide habitat for the American woodcock.
The refuge was initially opened to white-tailed deer hunting in 2002 for the first time ever. The managed hunt is expected to reduce migratory bird habitat degradation resulting from overbrowsing by deer, reduce the deer/vehicle collisions that occur along the refuge boundary and state highway 175, reduce the potential for increased deer/aircraft collisions at the neighboring Wallops Flight Facility, and provide a wildlife-dependent recreational activity.