Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge
|Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
|Location||Virgin Islands, United States|
|Nearest city||Charlotte Amalie, VI|
|Area||45 acres (0.18 km²)|
|Governing body||U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge is located about 2 miles (4 km) south of the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands of the United States. There are actually two "Buck Islands." The National Wildlife Refuge occupies the one near St. Thomas. The one just north of St. Croix is the centerpiece of Buck Island Reef National Monument. Adjacent to the refuge is Capella Island, about half the size of Buck, owned by the territorial government.
The refuge is characterized by a thorn scrub habitat with rocky coastline surrounded by spectactular reefs. A lighthouse (still maintained by the United States Coast Guard) stands over 45 acres (180,000 m2) of cactus and grassland. The island was transferred to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service due to "its value for migratory birds." The U.S. Navy transferred some lands in 1969 and the remainder was received from the Coast Guard in 1981. The surrounding waters contain reefs and a shipwreck that attract large numbers of snorkelers, divers, and boaters.
Turtle Cove, on the northwest side, is densely populated with sea turtles. Tours of Turtle Cove are available from St. John and St. Thomas.
Buck Island NWR is administered as part of the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife complex.