Since 2000, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!), partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Friends of Eastern Neck, has restored more than 12 acres of wetland habitat, demonstrating the beneficial use of dredge material. The wetlands provide refuge to a variety of wildlife including terrapins, birds, snakes, and small mammals.
Currently, we are working to educate local school children on the importance of marsh habitat around the Chesapeake Bay using these restored wetlands as a living classroom. Students from our Terrapins in the Classroom Program and Wetland Nursery Program join us at the refuge for outdoor learning opportunities.
In 2009, the Aquarium returned to Eastern Neck to restore additional wetland habitat at Hail Point, an isthmus that separates the Chester River and Hail Creek. The Maryland Department of National Resources regards Hail Point as one of the five best waterfowl habitats in Maryland.
In addition to wetland restoration, ACT! created an Interpretive Nature Trail and BayScape Garden, as well as a Kayak Water Trail. The Interpretive Nature Trail and BayScape Garden are located adjacent to the Refuge’s visitor center, a historic lodge built in 1930. The trail is composed of an observation deck, meadow path, and photo blind that overlooks a nearby marsh.
The Kayak Water Trail connects scenic, historic, and wetland restoration sites around the island for the recreational and educational benefit of paddlers and other boaters. A map of the trail can be purchased at the Refuge’s visitor center.
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Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge is a 2,285-acre stopover area for migratory and wintering waterfowl at the mouth of the Chester River on Maryland's Eastern Shore.