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Nomans Land Island
National Wildlife Refuge

c/o Eastern MA NWR Complex
73 Weir Hill Road
Sudbury, MA   01776
E-mail: fw5rw_emnwr@fws.gov
Phone Number: 978-443-4661
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Nomans Land Island National Wildlife Refuge
Nomans Land Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is 628 acres in size and is located in Dukes County, 3 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, MA. The Island is 1.6 miles long east to west, and about 1 mile north to south. Nomans Land Island was used for aerial gunnery by the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1996. The USFWS managed an "overlay" Refuge on the eastern third of the Island under a Joint Management Agreement between the Department of the Interior and Department of the Navy since 1975. Following an extensive surface clearance of ordnance in 1997 and 1998, the Island was transferred to the USFWS to become Nomans Land Island National Wildlife Refuge. It was established " . . . for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds" (Migratory Bird Conservation Act).

Nomans Land Island is surrounded entirely by the Atlantic Ocean. About 30% of the island is comprised of wetlands which range from emergent marshes to permanently flooded-open water. There are four artificial ponds (that were impounded many years ago by early settlers), two large freshwater ponds, and a number of smaller ponds dot the Island. Common wetland plants include: Virginia chain fern, cranberry, sphagnum moss, broad-leaved cattail, and common reed.

Getting There . . .
Due to the potential safety risks associated with unexploded ordnance, and the value of this Island as a relatively natural Island habitat, the Refuge is closed to all public uses. Information about the Refuge can be obtained by contacting the headquarters office in Sudbury, MA at 978-443-4661.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Formal comprehensive surveys of wildlife that use Nomans Land Island NWR have only been conducted for a few years, but a variety of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates have been documented on the Island, including many State-listed species.

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The Nomans Land Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of more than 540 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System throughout the United States.

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The refuge is closed to the public.

Recreation and Education Opportunities
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Management Activities
Currently, Refuge staff are focused on collecting baseline data of flora and fauna on the Island to help determine priority species and develop a management plan to ensure conservation of these species. During the spring, breeding bird surveys are conducted at permanent points using a standardized survey method to document songbird use Island wide. In the summer, nesting Leach's storm-petrels, double-crested cormorants, terns, and shorebirds are censused by counting active nests. Fall migrating songbirds and raptors are recorded during the fall. Beginning in 2003, Refuge staff will begin carefully censusing Virginia rails to get an accurate count of the number of adults nesting on the Island.

In addition, invasive species that occur on the Refuge are being carefully inventoried and mapped using a global positioning system and ArcMap. The most abundant invasive species are autumn olive and common reed. Refuge staff will begin removing invasive species in 2003 using a combination of hand, mechanical, and chemical methods. Prescribed burning may also be utilized to prevent further spread of invasive species.