National Wildlife Refuge
|340 Smith Rd.
Shirley, NY 11967
Phone Number: 631-286-0485
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|Wertheim's Carman's River estuary offers prime wintering habitat for declining black duck populations. (copyright Ed Sambolin)|
Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge
The Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge on the south shore of Long Island is one of the last undeveloped estuary systems remaining on Long Island. Approximately half of the refuge consists of aquatic habitats including bay with marine seagrass beds, intertidal saltmarsh, high saltmarsh, freshwater marsh, shrub swamp, and red maple swamp. The refuge's saltmarshes, combined with the adjacent New York State-owned saltmarsh, form the largest continuous saltmarsh on Long Island.
The remaining half of the refuge is upland featuring the rare Pine Barren habitats of pitch pine, oak-pine, mixed oak, pioneer hardwood, upland shrub, and grasslands.
The refuge's wildlife populations are quite diverse. About 300 species of birds have been documented at Wertheim. The refuge winters up to 5,000 waterfowl, the majority being black ducks - a species in nationwide decline. The coastal location also makes this refuge an excellent migration corridor for shorebirds, raptors and songbirds.
The main purpose for establishing the refuge was to protect the Carmans River Estuary for migratory birds. The River is a NY State-designated Wild and Scenic river and one of the Island's largest. The refuge supports eight Federal and/or New York State protected species.
Getting There . . .
Long Island Expwy. (I-495), Exit 68S, or Sunrise Hwy. (Rte.27), Exit 58S, to the William Floyd Pkwy. (CR46S). From the junction of William Floyd parkway and Montauk Highway (Rte. 27A/CR80) proceed west on Montauk (CR 80W) for approximately one mile, turn south onto Smith Road. Go 1/4 mile to the refuge entrance on the right.
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The Wertheim NWR is managed to protect and enhance habitat for migratory birds. Both upland and wetland habitats are actively managed for wildlife. Upland management activities at the refuge include a prescribed fire program, forest opening management, forest management, songbird nest box program, osprey nesting platform maintenance, and derelict land restoration. Refuge Biologists are also researching white-tailed deer management in order to enhance habitat for migratory birds, particularly those using the refuge for nesting.
Wetland management activities include open marsh water management, impoundment management, wood duck nest box program, and prescribed burning and mowing for Phragmites control, an exotic and invasive plant.
Natural resource inventories conducted include forest inventory, fire weather data, water quality, waterbird surveys, white-tailed deer counts, breeding bird surveys, waterfowl brood surveys, and salamander breeding counts.