U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Oyster Bay
National Wildlife Refuge

Canvasback (copyright Ed Sambolin)
Oyster Bay, NY   11771
E-mail: longislandrefuges@fws.gov
Phone Number: 631-286-0485
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Wintering waterfowl such as this canvasback, black duck and scaup rely on Oyster Bay for food and shelter during the colder months. (copyright Ed Sambolin)
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Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge
The Oyster Bay NWR on the north shore of Long Island consists of high quality marine habitats that support a variety of aquatic-dependent wildlife. The refuge's waters and marshes surround Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, home of Theodore Roosevelt - father of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Subtidal (underwater up to mean high tide line) habitats are abundant with marine invertebrates, shellfish and fish.

Marine invertebrate and fish communities support a complex food web from waterfowl to fish-eating birds, to marine mammals. Waterfowl use of the Refuge peaks from October through April. Over 20,000 ducks have been documented on the refuge during one survey. Over 25 species of waterfowl, along with numerous other waterbirds, depend on Oyster Bay for survival. The most common marine mammals at the refuge are harbor seals - which have become more noticeable during recent years. Sea turtles and diamondback terrapins can also be sighted at the Refuge.

New York State's only remaining commercial oyster farm operates on the refuge, producing 90% of the State's oyster harvest.

Getting There . . .
Access to the refuge is limited to private boats and rentals. Residents outside of Oyster Bay may enter the refuge by boat from Long Island Sound. Visitors in vehicles may travel local roads adjacent to the refuge. The refuge does not provide parking. Mill Pond, part of the Refuge, is located off West Main Street. Onsite parking is not available.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Wetlands The Refuge includes over 3,000 acres of bay bottom and adjacent shoreline up to the mean high tide, plus the channels and marshes of Frost, Oak Neck, and Mill Neck Creeks. The Refuge largely consists of subtidal habitats (2 to 9 m in depth) and linear strands of intertidal saltmarsh. High saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands occur on the Refuge but to a lesser extent. The Refuge wetlands also serve as important nursery areas for a variety of sport finfish and shellfish ...

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The Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1968 via land donation from the Town of Oyster Bay and several local villages under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act. The refuge's waters and marshes surround the National Park Services Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, home of Theodore Rooseveltthe founder of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The only remaining commercial oyster farm in New York State operates on the refuge. Ninety percent of the oysters harvested in New York State come from the refuge's waters.

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Management Activities
The Oyster Bay NWR is managed primarily for use by migratory waterfowl and other waterbirds.

Major management activities at this marine sanctuary include boundary posting and monitoring, restoring wetlands, managing the impoundment, removing and monitoring illegal manmade structures, erecting osprey platforms, maintaining a songbird and wood duck nest box program, and patrolling to prevent illegal hunting, dumping, and dock construction, as well as inappropriate boating and mooring activities.

Wildlife inventory activities include waterfowl use surveys. Water parameters and quality of the bay are also monitored in partnership with the not-for-profit organization, Friends of the Bay.