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Trustom Pond
National Wildlife Refuge

1040 Matunuck Schoolhouse Road
South Kingstown, RI   02879
Phone Number: 401-364-9124
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Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge

"Picturesque, peaceful, yet thriving with wildlife." That's how many of the more than 50,000 annual visitors describe the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge.

Spanning 800 acres on the Southern Coast of Rhode Island, the refuge protects the state's only undeveloped salt pond. From upland forests to a 1.5-mile barrier beach,the varied habitats in Trustom Pond support more than 300 bird, 40 mammal,and 20 reptile and amphibian species.

A stronghold for the threatened piping plover, the refuge is home to several other rare species including osprey, least terns, and the state's only population of Fowler's toad.

This refuge, along with the four other National Wildlife Refuges in the state, are administered by the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, headquartered in Charlestown, R.I.

The new Kettle Pond Visitor Center and headquarters located in Charlestown, RI, celebrates the Trustom Pond Refuge and all of the other refuges in Rhode Island. This facility contains interactive exhibits, displays, a sales area, classrooms for special events, and knowledgeable people where visitors can come and explore the refuges and learn about the wildlife resources and coastal environments of each refuge.

Getting There . . .
The Refuge is located in the Town of South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island. From Providence, head South on Interstate 95 and exit onto Route 4 south. Route 4 will merge into U.S. Route 1 south. Continue on Route 1 south and take the Moonstone Beach Road exit. Continue for 1 mile, and then turn right onto Matunuck Schoolhouse Road at the four way stop sign. Continue west on Schoolhouse Road for one mile, and the refuge entrance will be on the left.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Wildlife abounds on the refuge, with Trustom Pond attracting several different species of waterfowl during the spring and fall migrations. Osprey nest on the refuge, and a wide array of migratory songbirds attract birders from throughout the region.

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Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge had its beginnings in 1987 with the donation of 365 acres to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Ms. Ann Kenyon Morse, an avid hunter, airplane pilot, and conservationist. The Audubon Society of Rhode Island donated another 151 acres, and subsequent land purchases have increased the protected acreage to 800. Our approved land acquistion plan seeks to enlarge the refuge by another 1,280 acres.

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Management Activities
An aggressive program to control undesireable, non-native plant and animal species is being implemented on the refuge. In cooperation with Rhode Island, the University of Rhode Island, and the State of Connecticut, more than 50 acres dominated by phragmites, or common reed, are being treated to return these areas to a productive wetland habitat dominated by native species. Our initial treatments look very promising.

Autumn olive, another fierce invader, is also being targeted for control, to provide better habitats in upland settings.

More than 30 acres per year are being restored into grasslands and other early successional habitat, thus helping stem the tide of migratory songbird decline within this habitat type. Open shrub and grasslands have declined at alarming rates over the past 40 years, due to a decline in farming, increased development, and many areas turning into older, forested environments.

Management of the barrier beach for the threatened piping plover is a signifcant effort which has resulted in a steady increase in the local plover population. Each year, Moonstone beach is closed from April 1 through September 15 to provide a safe and undisturbed area for this species to nest.

In close coordination with the state, the Friends of the National Wildlife Refuges of Rhode Island, and with the assistance of many dedicated volunteers, refuge staff also manage piping plovers off of the refuge on public and private lands across the Southern Coast of Rhode Island. This effort has not only enhanced survival of the threatened piping plover, but has been hailed as an example of how interagency efforts should work.