Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1934, is located in Hyde County near the town of New Holland. Lake Mattamuskeet is approximately 16,200 ha (40,031 acres) in size. An additional 4,120 ha (10,181 acres) make up the rest of the refuge. Lake Mattamuskeet is best known for waterfowl. Canada Geese, Tundra Swans, and 22 species of ducks winter on and around the refuge. The lake, managed impoundments, and nearby agricultural lands provide important habitat for foraging and resting. The site has approximately 1,050 ha (2,595 acres) of managed impoundments that support waterfowl and shorebirds. The site also includes the Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, Gull Rock Game Lands, and privately owned tracts.

Conservation Issues

changes to lake hydrology, salt intrusion, climate change, water pollution, residential development

Audubon North Carolina, The Nature Conservancy and other organizations have formed the Albemarle-Pamlico Conservation and Communities Cooperative (AP3C) to begin planning for conservation in the region including planning for sea level rise. The National Wildlife Refuge portion of this IBA has a comprehensive conservation plan in place. Recent changes to lake levels have prompted the adoption of a water control plan to maintain levels high enough for recreation, vegetation growth for waterfowl forage, and for fisheries. The area around the refuges here are high priority areas for commercial wind development and the effects of those developments are unknown and will need to be reviewed carefully prior to project approval and closely monitored after operations begin


Most of this site is protected and managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The site also includes significant private lands.


Lake, managed impoundments, freshwater marsh, agriculture, deciduous forest, coniferous forest.

Land Use

Wildlife conservation, hunting, recreation/tourism.

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