Welcome to the Potomac River Refuges

Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck NWR              Occoquan Bay NWR               Featherstone NWR

FoPRR's 21 Turtle Salute to the Potomac River Refuges

There is Something for Everyone at the Potomac River Refuges

Whether you are a birder, photographer, or hiker, there is something for you to enjoy at one of the Potomac River Refuges.  If it is fresh air and a change of scenery you need after a hectic day, then come step into a place where traffic noise is the sound of spring peepers and songbirds and congestion is a group of twelve bald eagles out on the ice.

For hikers, Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck and Occoquan Bay NWR's have walking trails.  Both Refuges also offer excellent birding opportunities, with the species count at OBNWR now up to 242.  Bald eagles can often be seen at both refuges, with the best viewing during winter.  

Weekend programs and special events offer a chance to learn more from rangers and naturalists.  For Scouts and other groups, the Friends of the Potomac River Refuges offer special walks and programs. Check out the refuge websites for more information - links to the websites are on "The Refuges" tab above.  

Whether you are a Refuge veteran or first-time visitor, we welcome you to share in the beauty of the diverse habitats at the Potomac River Refuges.

Learn more about how you can help the national refuge system from the National Wildlife Refuge Association (www.refugenet.org) and from the Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp (www.friendsofthestamp.org)

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Helping to conserve three important National Wildlife Refuges in the midst of highly populated Northern Virginia

FoPRR To Close

On June 22, 2016, the FoPRR Board of Directors (BOD) reluctantly but unanimously voted to dissolve the organization by the end of August 2016. 
(The organization's last day will be determined by the numerous closure actions the BOD must complete) 

The primary reason for this decision was the BOD’s determination that FoPRR is not, and has not been for some time, a self-sustaining organization.  After multiple efforts to improve the organization's status, there is no indication of this changing.  Annual overhead expenses have exceeded annual income, membership levels have steadily been declining, and efforts to keep the number of Directors above the minimum required have been failing. 

Recent FoPRR Accomplishments:

1) FoPRR provided funds for a refuge project to have signs for the Occoquan Bay NWR placed on I-95 (north and south) and on southbound Route 123 near US Route 1.  Refuge management is also planning to fund signs for the OB refuge placed on US Route 1 (north and south) after the on-going VDOT US Route 1 improvement project is completed (projected by VDOT for 2018/19);

2) FoPRR purchased a significant number of nets and equipment to support the bird banding activity at Occoquan Bay NWR;  

3) FoPRR purchased a significant amount of educational materials to be used by the refuge staff in their environmental programs.

Prospects for the future of the refuges are bright.   

The Refuge staff have a volunteer who is serving as a Volunteer Coordinator to assist the staff with all volunteer activities including staffing the Visitor Contact Station and the fee booth. 

Plans for a new visitor center building on the Occoquan Bay NWR have been approved and are awaiting funding.

The upcoming signage on I-95 and Rt. 123 should enhance the visibility of the Occoquan Bay Refuge and serve to broaden the public's knowledge and appreciation of this special refuge just a short distance from the nation's capital. 

While there is certainly no cause for celebration at the dissolution of the organization, all those who have served on the Board since 2002 and all those members who've contributed time and effort can be very proud that FoPRR served its mission and that the public's awareness of the value of our three local refuges has been enhanced.


Want to help others enjoy the Refuges? 

Contact the Potomac River Refuge Complex office to learn about ways you can help others enjoy what the refuges have to offer.

        Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) Manager of the Potomac River Refuge Complex (PRRC) Daffny Pritchford (L) with PRRC            Visitor Services Manager Rosalind Wu (R) 

 FWS Volunteer Opportunities

  • Welcome visitors at Occoquan Bay NWR
    • Help Fish & Wildlife staff greeting visitors on the weekends
    • Volunteers are asked to commit to 1 shift/month 
    • Shift length and time are flexible
  • Protect habitats and wildlife by volunteering with The Potomac Pullers to control and manage invasive plants 
    • Learn to identify invasive plants
    • Map invasives using GPS
    • Remove invasives
    • Monitor results
    • Increase public awareness

Interested?  Please contact:

Rosalind Wu, Visitor Services Manager 
703-490-4979 x 2016

                Last updated:  August 8, 2016

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