Tybee National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Refuge Quick Facts

Shorebird. Credit: USFWS

Shorebird. Credit: USFWS

Jane Griess - Project Leader
Shaw Davis - Deputy Project Leader


  • Established: 1938
  • Acres: 100
  • Location: Tybee NWR is located in Jasper County, South Carolina, at the mouth of the Savannah River, adjacent to the Georgia state line. It lies across the river from the small Georgia town of Tybee Island (population 2,700) and just north of Fort Pulaski National Monument which is 12 miles east of Savannah on U.S. Highway 80.
  • The refuge began as a one-acre oyster shoal, Oysterbed Island, used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) as a spoil disposal site to support their mandated harbor dredging activity. Accretions to Oysterbed Island, resulting from COE river and harbor improvements, continue to expand Tybee NWR's acreage.
  • The refuge is an important resting and feeding area for migratory birds including gulls, terns, neotropical migratory songbirds, and shorebirds.
  • When sufficient quantities of sand are deposited on the refuge following Savannah River dredging activity, least terns form nesting colonies.
  • Endangered species, including piping plovers and wood storks, have been observed on the refuge land, while shortnose sturgeon and manatees have been found in the waters bording Tybee NWR.

Financial Impact of the Refuge

  • Tybee NWR is part of a seven-refuge complex that has an annual budget of $3,434,000
    (FY 06) and a combined staff of 29, none assigned specifically to this refuge.
  • Public use figures are not compiled as the refuge is closed to the public.

Refuge Objectives

  • Tybee was established by executive order to "effectuate further the purposes of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act." The refuge is primarily managed for the benefit of nesting shorebirds.
  • Stated objectives of the refuge only dictate basic ownership and protection. Due to its small size, limited habitat, and inadequate funding, Tybee NWR is closed to the public.

Management Tools

  • Law enforcement.
  • Education/Interpretation


Last updated: April 20, 2009