About Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located 12 miles south of Cambridge, Maryland, and was established in 1933 as a refuge for migratory birds. The Refuge includes more than 28,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and loblolly pine forests, managed freshwater wetlands, and croplands. It serves as an important resting and feeding area for migrating and wintering waterfowl, and is one of the chief wintering areas for Canada geese using the Atlantic Flyway. The Refuge supports one of the highest concentrations of nesting bald eagles on the Atlantic coast and is a haven for the once-endangered Delmarva fox squirrel.

Blackwater NWR is one of more than 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal agency. The National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of lands and waters managed specifically for the protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat for the continuing benefit of the American people. It represents the most comprehensive wildlife resource management program in the world.

In addition to managing Blackwater NWR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff also administer the Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes Blackwater NWR, Eastern Neck NWR, Martin NWR and Susquehanna NWR, as well as the Barren Island, Watts Island, Garrett Island, Bishops Head, and Spring Island Divisions.

Take a moment to explore this section of our website and learn more about Blackwater NWR's history, ecosystem, and wildlife species. Also, read about the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, of which Blackwater NWR is a part. You can also visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Blackwater NWR website to find additional information, including current "Refuge alerts" that may help you when planning a visit.