Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
Endangered and Threatened Species on the Refuge: Wintering bald eagles and peregrine falcons, red wolf, and American alligator
Other Wildlife Species: Mattamuskeet lies in the middle of the Atlantic Flyway and provides a valuable wintering area for the waterfowl using this bird highway, which extends from Canada southward. Thousands of Canada geese, snowgeese, tundra swans, and 22 species of ducks overwinter on the refuge annually. Deer, bobcats, otters, and occasional black bear, 240 species of birds and other wildlife call the refuge home.
Habitat Description: Located in eastern North Carolina in Hyde County, Mattamuskeet Refuge was established in1934 and consists of 50,000 acres of water, marsh, timber, and croplands. Lake Mattamuskeet, the largest natural lake in North Carolina, is a shallow body of water averaging only two feet in depth. It is 18 miles long, and 5 to 6 miles wide, and contains about 40,000 acres. Refuge forests consist of approximately 1,000 acres of loblolly pine, including the 153-acre Salyer's Ridge Natural Area, and 2,000 acres of mixed hardwoods and bald cypress.
Focus Activities: The refuge manages 2,500 acres of marsh impoundments, which were created to increase the production of waterfowl foods. Currently, water management and vegetation control in the impoundments produce impressive stands of natural waterfowl foods such as wild millet, panic grasses, and spike rushes. In addition, dense beds of underwater vegetation eaten by swans, diving ducks, and some puddle ducks grow in Lake Mattamuskeet. Corn, soybeans, and winter wheat are farmed by cooperative farmers with a portion left for geese, ducks, and swans to use. Forest management techniques such as prescribed burning and selective thinning are used to enhance wildlife habitat.
Opportunities for Public Use: Boating and sport fishing for largemouth bass, striped bass, catfish, bream and other species is permitted on Lake Mattamuskeet and adjacent canals from March 1-November 1. Taking blue crab at the water control structures is a popular sport enjoyed by all age groups. The Mattamuskeet Refuge provides for quality public hunting of swans, ducks, coots, and white-tailed deer. A 6-mile-long entrance road and wildlife drive is available to the public for wildlife viewing. The historic Mattamuskeet Pumping Plant/Lodge is open for touring. Visitors may also enjoy hiking, picnicking, and wildlife photography. The refuge is open during daylight hours.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication