The Potomac River Refuge Complex


Occoquan Bay NWR 
 
Visit website    |    13950 Dawson Beach Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22191  |  703-490-4979

This 644 acre refuge, previously a military research site, has a unique mix of wetlands, forest, and native grasslands that provides a diversity of habitats for wide variety of species. Wetland habitats cover about 50% of the refuge and include wet meadows, bottomland hardwoods, open freshwater marsh, and tidally influenced marshes and streams. Upland meadows and mature oak-hickory-beech forest are interspersed among the wetlands. Over 200 species of birds and 600 species of plants have been identified on this site.  The open landscape provides excellent viewing of raptors and the abundant white-tailed deer. Some of the refuges interesting birds include the woodcock, meadowlark, snipe, Northern harrier, savanna sparrow, yellow warbler, orchard oriole and great horned owl.


Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck NWR 
Visit website    |    7603 High Point Rd., Lorton, VA 22079  |  703-490-4979

Situated along the Potomac River on the Mason Neck peninsula, this refuge consists of 2,277 acres of oak-hickory forest, freshwater marshes, and has 4.4 miles of shoreline. The refuge has the largest fresh water marsh in Northern Virginia, the largest Great Blue heron rookery in the Mid-Atlantic region (over 1,400 nests), is a designated RAMSAR site, and hosts over 200 species of birds, 31 species of mammals, and 44 species of reptiles and amphibians.

This refuge is a critical site for the preservation of plant and animal species in this rapidly developing region of Virginia. The refuge was established because bald eagles actively nest on the Mason Neck peninsula and large numbers utilize the mature oak, hickory and Virginia pine trees as they hunt for fish along the Potomac River shoreline. Large numbers of neo tropical birds nest or pass through the mature hardwood forest each year. Wood thrush, ovenbirds, scarlet tanagers, northern parula warblers and prothonotary warblers are a few of the many species readily heard and seen through the spring and summer seasons. The 285 acre Great Marsh contains vast stands of wild rice, and provides ideal wetland habitat for 20 species of waterfowl, marsh wrens, green herons, and great egrets. White-tailed deer, eastern gray squirrel, red fox and an occasional flock of wild turkey are encountered on the refuges two hiking trails.


Featherstone NWR
Visit website    |    Public access for this refuge is via a water landing only, accessible at the southern end of Farm Creek.

Located at the confluence of Neabsco Creek and the Potomac River, this refuge is 325 acres of tidal marsh and riparian wetlands with mature oaks, tulip poplars and red maples. The refuge is located north of the mouth of the Neabsco Creek at the confluence of the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers in Prince William County, Virginia. The large "bottomland" hardwood trees provide suitable habitat with ample nest cavities for pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, barred owls and prothonotary warblers. Waterfowl enjoy the quiet and secluded waters of Farm Creek for dabbling in the aquatic plant life and fishing for shad and herring. Bald eagles have maintained a nest within or adjacent to the refuge for a number of years. Some mammals that frequent the area include white-tailed deer, red fox, raccoon, gray squirrel, and beaver.


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