Big Foot Island is an artificial island located in Pamlico Sound, near Ocracoke Island. The island was constructed of dredged sand from a nearby navigation channel. The highest point on the island is approximately 5 m (16 feet) in elevation, but most of the site is 3 m (10 feet) or lower. Periodic renourishment with ?beach-quality? sand maintains the open, bare substrate, which provides good nesting habitat for several species of terns and sometimes Black Skimmers. This island is surrounded by shallow water and seagrass flats.

Ornithological Summary

Big Foot island is a nesting site for colonial seabirds and a winter resting area for Double-crested Cormorants.

Conservation Issues

Disturbance to birds, erosion

The island is posted, patrolled, and entirely off limits to visitors during the nesting season, from April 1 to August 31. Big Foot Island needs periodic beach renourishment to maintain its size, shape, and habitats. This has been accomplished by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in cooperation with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the North Carolina Colonial Waterbird Management Committee. Human disturbance is a significant threat and can result in egg or chick loss, nest abandonment, and colony abandonment.


The site is protected and managed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.


Open, bare sand habitat created with dredged sand, sparse grasses.

Land Use

Wildlife conservation

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