Supawna Meadows National Wildlife
The refuge lies along the Delaware River, north of the Salem River, in Pennsville Township, Salem County. Approximately 75 percent of the current 2,500 acres is brackish tidal marsh. As a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Supawna Meadows provides wintering and migrating waterfowl with an important feeding and resting area.
Finns Point Rear Range Light, located at the intersection of Fort Mott and Lighthouse Roads, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from the Department of Commerce in 1952.
Killcohook Coordination Area, 1,468 acres, adjacent to Supawna Meadows, is owned and administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The area is operated as a dredge spoil disposal site for the Delaware River's shipping channel. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of relinquishing its interest in this area. Due to the highly disturbed nature of this area, no wildlife management programs currently exist.
Supawna Meadows was first proposed in 1961 as the "Goose Pond Addition" to the Killcohook Migratory Bird Refuge. Killcohook had originally been established by President F. D. Roosevelt in 1934, as a secondary use of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' spoil disposal site. No action was taken on the proposal at that time.
In 1967, the Philadelphia Conservationists, Inc. (a private conservation group) began purchasing land in Salem County to hold in trust until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had funds available for the "Goose Pond Addition." The Service purchased the first 653 acres in 1971.
As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continued to deposit dredged spoil onto Killcohook, the wildlife values declined and in 1974, the Service renamed the "Goose Pond Addition," calling it Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, in order to differentiate it (and its high quality habitat) from Killcohook.
The refuge is a satellite of the Tinicum National Environmental Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Management of the refuge centers on the protection and enhancement of high quality habitat for use by migratory birds (waterfowl, wading birds, songbirds, woodcock and shorebirds).
A wide variety of waterfowl use the refuge during the fall and spring migrations. Black ducks, mallards and northern pintails are common winter visitors. Nesting boxes are provided for wood ducks during the summer. Herons, egrets and sandpipers use the marsh as a feeding area during the summer as well. Delaware's nearby Pea Patch Island Rookery hosts over 6,000 pairs of herons and egrets. Most abundant are cattle egrets.
Warblers, sparrows and other migratory birds use the upland areas as a resting/feeding area during migration and for breeding/nesting during the summer. The abundant northern bayberry shrubs are foraged by thousands of tree swallows in late summer.
The American bald eagle is a transient visitor. Osprey nest on the refuge.
Many animals besides migratory birds benefit when wetlands are protected. Foxes, muskrat, deer, frogs and turtles all find a home at Supawna Meadows NWR.
Finns Point Rear Range Light is open to the public from 12 to 4 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month, from April through October. A brochure about the lighthouse is available upon request.
Deer hunting is allowed by permit. Limited waterfowl hunting is allowed, pursuant to refuge regulations.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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