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Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

by Guerry Norwood

Harris Neck NWR was established in 1962 by transfer of federal lands formerly managed by the Federal Aviation Administration as a WWII Army airfield.  The refuge’s 2,824 acres consist of saltwater marsh, grassland, mixed deciduous woods and cropland.  Because of this great variety in habitat, many different species of birds are attracted to the refuge throughout the year.

Harris Neck

Harris Neck

In the summer, thousands of egrets, herons and endangered wood storks nest in the swamps, while in the winter, large concentrations of ducks (especially mallards, gadwall and teal) gather in the marshland and freshwater pools.  Over 15 miles of paved roads and trails provide the visitor easy access to these areas.  Some portions of the refuge may be closed seasonally to protect wildlife from human disturbance.
Harris Neck NWR is one of seven refuges administered by the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex.

This chain of national wildlife refuges extends from Pinckney Island NWR near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to Wolf Island NWR near Darien, Georgia.  Between these lie Savannah (the largest unit in the complex), Wassaw, Tybee, Harris Neck, and Blackbeard Island refuges.  Together they span a 100-mile coastline and total nearly 57,000 acres.  The Savannah Coastal Refuges are administered from headquarters located in Savannah, Georgia.

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