Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, located on the northern end of North Carolina's Outer Banks, was established in 1984 to preserve and protect the coastal barrier island ecosystem. Refuge lands are managed to provide wintering habitat for waterfowl and to protect endangered species such as piping plover, sea turtles, and sea beach amaranth.
Habitat types common to most barrier islands are found on the refuge. Moving westward from the Atlantic Ocean to Currituck Sound, these habitats include sandy beaches, grassy dunes, interdunal wetlands (flats), maritime forests and shrub thickets. Currituck Sound's shoreline is made up of brackish water marshes and occasionally, mud flats that have been exposed by wind tides. A few forested islands also exist on the refuge. Monkey Island, a noted bird rookery, provides nesting habitat to several species of wading birds. Vegetation within these diverse habitat types include various types of beach grasses, live oak, loblolly pine, wax myrtle, cattails, sedges and rushes, black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus) and giant cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides).
Various types of wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, mammals (including feral horses), reptiles, and amphibians common to the eastern United States, are found on the refuge. The endangered Piping Plover and loggerhead sea turtle sometimes nest on refuge beaches and dunes.
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