A recent expansion of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge includes 410 acres of forest and wetland habitat that is important for birds and other wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) acquired the properties from The Nature Conservancy.
The expansion was paid for through funding from the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which last fall granted the USFWS and its partners $2.2 million to acquire 758 acres for the refuge.
The two properties included in the deal adjoin the Nanticoke River in Wicomico and Dorchester county and are primarily made up of forested freshwater tidal wetlands.
These lands are recognized as Important Bird Areas by the National Audubon Society as they provide valuable habitat for breeding prothonotary warblers, black ducks, and other species. They may also provide future recreation and hunting opportunities.
The Nanticoke River is part of the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail and is widely recognized as one of the most pristine rivers in the Chesapeake Bay, due in part to the protected wetlands and forests that surround it.
The river also provides recreational opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and duck hunting. The 27,000-acre Blackwater Refuge lies just to the west of the Nanticoke, and includes a third of Maryland’s tidal wetlands.
The acquisition of these tracts was made possible through funding from the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, and with the support of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Funding was raised through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, or “Duck Stamps,” and was part of $2.2 million approved for the refuge by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission to protect habitat for waterfowl and other bird species.
source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service