Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, located in Carteret County, North Carolina is on the end of the peninsula that marks the southern end of Pamlico Sound. The refuge lies five miles west of the Atlantic ocean and about 40 miles northeast of Beaufort, North Carolina. Established in 1964, the refuge consists of about 11,000 acres of irregularly-flooded brackish marsh and 3,400 acres of pocosin and woodland habitat.
The refuge’s main feature is an extensive, relatively undisturbed coastal marsh. The dominant marsh plants include black needlerush, saltmarsh cordgrass, saltmeadow hay, and saltgrass. The woodland areas are dominated by loblolly, longleaf and pond pine. Live oak is also abundant on some upland sites. The marsh and surrounding waters provide wintering habitat for thousands of ducks and nesting habitat for colonial waterbirds. Species commonly found on the refuge include lesser scaups, redheads, canvasbacks, buffleheads, sea ducks, American black ducks, black rails, wading birds and shorebirds. Osprey and shorebirds nest on beaches, islands and points.
Public use opportunities on the refuge include saltwater fishing, wildlife observation and photography. Two boat ramps are also available. The refuge also allows hunting of waterfowl. Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge is administered by the staff of Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. Contact Mattamuskeet for hunt regulations and other information.