Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

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Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Aerial view of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Aerial view of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Location Clallam County, Washington, United States
Nearest city Sequim, Washington
Coordinates 48°05′21″N 123°14′29″W / 48.089056°N 123.241389°W / 48.089056; -123.241389Coordinates: 48°05′21″N 123°14′29″W / 48.089056°N 123.241389°W / 48.089056; -123.241389
Area 772.52 acres (312.63 ha)[1]
Established 1915
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is located near the town of Sequim in Clallam County in the U.S. state of Washington, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The refuge is composed of 772 acres (312 ha)[1] which include Dungeness Spit, Graveyard Spit, and portions of Dungeness Bay and Harbor. Dungeness Spit is one of the world's longest natural sand spits, 5.5 miles (8.9 km) long and very narrow.[2] A lighthouse, the New Dungeness Light, built in 1857, is located near the end of the spit.[3] Access to Dungeness Spit is through a Clallam County Park which has hiking trails, picnic areas, and a campground.[4] On January 20, 1915, it was designated as a National Wildlife Refuge by President Woodrow Wilson.[5]

Wildlife and habitat[edit]

The refuge provides habitat for a variety of wildlife species with more than 250 species of birds[6] and 41 species of land mammals that call the refuge “home” for some part of their life. The bay and estuary of the Dungeness River supports waterfowl, shorebirds, water waders, shellfish, and harbor seals. Anadromous fish like Chinook, Coho, pink salmon and chum salmon occur in the waters of Dungeness Bay and Harbor. A number of species of waterfowl stop briefly in the Dungeness area each fall on their way south for the winter and again when they head north in the spring. Many species of waterfowl winter in the area. Dungeness Bay and Harbor support black brant, present from late October through early May, with peak numbers of approximately 3,000-5,000 in April. Shorebirds and water waders feed and rest along the water’s edge. Harbor seals haul out to rest and give birth to pups on the end of Dungeness Spit. The tideflats support crabs, clams, and other shellfish.

Dungeness NWR is recognized as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society.[7] The Refuge is internationally significant because many of the birds that stop here breed as far north as Alaska and migrate as far south as South America. The Dungeness area is additionally important as a spring staging area (a place where large groups of birds stop to build up their fat reserves for migration) for black brant and other waterfowl.


The main activities occurring on the refuge are wildlife observation and photography, and wildlife education and interpretation. To ensure that wildlife continue to have a place to rest and feed, some recreational activities such as jogging, swimming, and other beach activities are allowed only in selected areas during certain times of the year.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

  1. ^ a b "Annual Report of Lands as of September 30, 2013" (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ "2011-2012 Travel Planner" (PDF). Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  3. ^ "New Dungeness Lighthouse". Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Dungeness Recreation Area". Clallam County Parks, Fair & Facilities Department. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge Profile". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Bird Checklists of the United States: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge". USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Dungeness Bay". National Audubon Society. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 

External links[edit]