- Chincoteague NWR consists of over 14,000 acres the majority of which is located on the Virginia portion of Assateague Island. Additional refuge lands are found on the north end of Chincoteague Island, Morris Island, Assawoman Island, and the northern end of Metompkin Island.
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Canadian Geese preen themselves at sunrise
The largest collection of near pristine barrier islands in the country is found here. The interspersion of fresh and salt water marshes, open water, barrier beach, and loblolly pine forest provide habitat for a variety of species. Refuge management programs actively enhance habitat to benefit migratory and nesting birds and indigenous wildlife, including threatened and endangered species such as Delmarva fox squirrel, peregrine falcon, bald eagle and piping plover.
The bay side marshes provide wintering, migration, and breeding habitat for a variety of waterfowl species, particularly black ducks. Fourteen moist soil management units comprising over 2600 acres are managed for wintering waterfowl and shorebirds during migration. White-tailed deer and sika elk inhabit the pine forests, scrub shrub zone, and fresh water marsh edges of the island's interior. The famous Chincoteague ponies graze in two fenced compartments on the refuge.
The Visitor Contact Station has scheduled guided walks and interpretive talks. A concessionaire operates an interpretive wildlife tour. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge hosts approximately 1.5 million visits per year. This number makes the refuge one of the most visited in the nation. A 7-day pass is $5/vehicle; there is no fee for pedestrians and bicyclists. An Interagency Agreement exists with the National Park Service which allows Assateague Island National Seashore to administer public use on a five-mile portion of the refuge beach.
Recreation - The Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory volunteers capture, examine, weigh, band and release resident and migratory birds in September and October of each year. In the raptor research area, hawks, kestrels, osprey and other birds of prey are observed and banded from September through November. Each fall the area hosts activities associated with the Kiptopeke Birding Festival.
Climate - Virginia generally has mild winters and warm humid summers. The eastern portion of the state has winter temperatures averaging above 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). The state's summer temperatures have little variation. The eastern portion of Virginia generally experiences temperatures above 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius). High humidity along with warm temperatures can be uncomfortable.
This island is located on the northern part of the Eastern Shore in Virginia.