DU, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is working on the restoration of 1,016 acres of managed wetlands on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia. Chincoteague NWR includes more than 14,000 acres of beach, dunes, marsh, and maritime forest. Established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds, the refuge continues to provide habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and song birds as well as other species of wildlife and plants. Wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting, wildlife photography and observation, interpretation, and environmental education are abundant. Chincoteague is one of the most visited refuges in the country and best known for the fabled wild ponies, made famous by Marguerite Henry in her book Misty of Chincoteague.

This project will restore management capabilities, giving USFWS managers the ability to independently management impoundments to encourage production of quality forage for waterfowl and mudflats and sheet water for shorebird foraging habitat. Water management will also control undesirable plant species and improve water quality in the adjacent Chincoteague Bay, an area that provides extensive submerged aquatic vegetation resources for migrating and wintering waterfowl.

Funding for the project comes from a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant, Virginia Outdoors Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service and DU. All permits have been received, and construction will begin this fall.