- Approximately half the refuge consists of aquatic habitats including bay with marine sea grass beds, intertidal salt marsh, high salt marsh, freshwater marsh, shrub swamp, and red maple swamp. The refuge's salt marshes combined with the adjacent New York State salt marsh is the largest contiguous salt marsh remaining on the mainland of Long Island.
The remaining half of the refuge consists of upland habitats including pitch pine stands, oak-pine stands, mixed oak stands, pioneer hardwood stands, upland shrub, and warm and cool season grasslands. A unique feature of the uplands of this refuge for the National Wildlife Refuge system is its pine barren vegetative community.
The wildlife of the refuge is diverse as reflected by the many habitat types present. Most of the wildlife which is found on Long Island occurs at this refuge. Close to 300 species of birds have been documented at Wertheim.
The bird fauna is diverse and ranges from breeding forest interior species to whippoorwills to breeding least bitterns and osprey to the salt marsh bird community. The refuge winters up to 5,000 waterfowl with the majority being black ducks - a species in nationwide decline.
The coastal location of this refuge also makes it an excellent migration corridor particular for shorebirds, raptors and songbirds. The refuge supports nine federal and/or New York State designated endangered / threatened species.
Visitors to Wertheim NWR enjoy viewing the diverse habitats, migrating birds and pristine scenery.
The Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge is located on the south shore of Long Island which is bisected by the Carmans River which flows into Bellport Bay, the eastern most portion of Great South Bay.
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