Dare and Hyde Counties, NC
Dare and Hyde counties are two of the twenty coastal counties in North Carolina. Both counties span large portions of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary, which is the second largest estuary in the United States.
National Wildlife Refuges
Three coastal National Wildlife Refuges are located within Dare and Hyde counties, although a total of 5 refuges are present within the counties.
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge: A 154,000 acre refuge that protects pocosin (swamp-like) wetlands and serves as habitat for many species (black bears, American alligators, otters, shorebirds, and songbirds). The refuge is bordered by the Alligator River, Intracoastal Waterway, Pamlico Sound, Albemarle Sound, and Long Shoal River. TNC has already initiated oyster reef restoration
projects along high-risk erosion sites of this refuge.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge: A 5,834 acre refuge located in Dare County along the Outer Banks. Pea Island is bordered by the Pamlico Sound from the west and the Atlantic Ocean from the east. The Pea Island refuge protects 13 miles of ocean beach, loggerhead sea turtle nesting habitat, and a variety of migrating bird species. Ocean beach, dunes, fresh and brackish water ponds, salt flats, and salt marshes are present within the refuge boundaries.
Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge: A 16,411-acre refuge that sits along the Pamlico Sound. Swanquarter consists of brackish marsh and forested wetlands and protects endangered species and waterfowl habitat.