SavannahNational Wildlife Refugephoto: Diana Churchillphoto: David Goekephoto: David E. Goekephoto: Ray PorterSavannah National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex headquartered in Savannah, Georgia. The complex includes seven national wildlife refuges, totaling 56,949 acres, along a 100-mile stretch of coastline in Georgia and South Carolina. The seven refuges are Pinckney Island and Tybee NWRs in SC; Savannah (located in both states along the Savannah River); and Wassaw, Harris Neck, Blackbeard Island, and Wolf Island NWRs in GA.Refuge Facts Established: 1927. Acres: 29,175. Savannah NWR lies in Chatham and Efngham counties, Georgia and Jasper County, South Carolina. Location: the Savannah NWR Visitor Center is located on U.S. Highway 17, seven miles south of Hardeeville, South Carolina and six miles north of Savannah, Georgia.Natural History The refuge lies on the lower Savannah River between mile markers 18 and 40. The port city of Savannah, Georgia lies downstream of the refuge. There are over 38 miles of river and 25 miles of streams and creeks within the refuge boundaries. Habitats include bottomland hardwoods, palustrine, estuarine and tidal (8ft. amplitude) freshwater wetlands. Fringe area of upland hardwoods exists along the east boundary. A 3,000-acre impoundment system is actively managed for migratory wading birds and waterfowl. The Seaboard Coastline Railroad has a 24-acre Right-of-Way agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge is home to a large variety of wildlife including ducks, geese, wading birds, shorebirds and several endangered and/or threatened species including wood storks, manatees and shortnose sturgeon. The refuge also provides nesting areas for wood ducks, great horned owls, bald eagles, osprey and swallow-tailed kites among others.Financial Impact of Refuge Over 170,000 visitors annually.Refuge Objectives Utilize refuge property as “a refuge and breeding ground for native birds and wild animals.” Provide habitat and protection for those species of plants and animals whose survival is threatened or endangered. Provide habitat and sanctuary for migratory birds consistent with the objectives of the Atlantic Flyway. Maintain and enhance as needed the habitats of all other species of indigenous wildlife and shery resources. Manage furbearers, deer and other upland game species so their numbers will be compatible with other wildlife management goals.Promote wildlife education, interpretation and recreational opportunities to the visiting public.Management Tools Water level management on 3,000 acres for the benet of waterfowl, wading birds, wood storks, swallow-tailed kites and shorebirds. Prescribed re. Mowing/disking. Mechanical/chemical treatment of noxious plants. Public hunting for deer and feral hog management.Russ Webb, Refuge ManagerJane Griess, Project LeaderSavannah NWRc/o Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex694 Beech Hill LaneHardeeville, SC 29927Phone: 843/784 2468Fax: 843/784 2465E-mail: savannahcoastal@fws.govwww.fws.gov/savannahU.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Environmental education/ interpretation. Law enforcement. Partnerships.Public Use Opportunities Hiking/biking trails. Wildlife observation. Wildlife photography. Environmental education/ interpretation. Fishing. Hunting. The four-mile Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive is open to vehicle trafc throughout the year. Thirty-six miles of dikes are open seasonally to foot and bicycle trafc.Calendar of EventsMarch: All impoundments (pools) open to shing March 1 to November 30 (designated areas are open all year); feral hog hunting.April: Turkey hunting.May: Migratory Bird Day.October: National Wildlife Refuge Week; youth archery deer hunting; archery deer/hog hunting.November: Gun hunt for deer, squirrel and feral hogs; two-day mobility-impaired deer hunt.December: Christmas Bird Count; youth waterfowl hunt Questions and AnswersHow do I get there?From Savannah: From Savannah: Take U.S. Highway 17 North across the Talmadge Bridge into SC and continue approximately six miles to Savannah NWR Visitor Center entrance on your left.”From I-95: Take either SC Exit 5 (Hardeeville) U.S. Highway 17 South towards Savannah or GA Exit 109 (Port Wentworth) GA Route 21 East towards Savannah and follow signs to refuge.Are there any costs associated with a visit?There are no fees charged to visit the refuge.What can I expect to see?During the spring and fall, you will usually see many alligators sunning themselves on the banks of waterways, along with an assortment of wading birds. During the winter months, waterfowl and other migratory birds are visible in the impoundment system.Is there a visitor center?Yes, there is a visitor center located on U.S. Highway 17 approximately six miles north of Savannah, GA and seven miles south of Hardeeville, SC. The visitor center is open Monday -Saturday from 9 am - 4:30 pm and offers an 11-minute video about the refuge, a museum-quality exhibit hall and a nature store operated by the refuge Friends Group.Are there any hunting and/or shing opportunities?Yes, shing is allowed year-round in the creeks and rivers throughout the refuge. Fishing is also allowed within the impoundment system between March 1 and November 30 of each year. Bank shing from the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive is permitted all year.Hunting is also permitted on the refuge. The archery hunting season for white-tailed deer and feral hogs extends from October 1- 31 each year. The rearm season for deer, feral hogs and squirrel extends from November 1- 30 of each year.Designated areas are open to mobility-impaired hunters for a quota hunt in November. In March, a feral hog hunt is open to gun hunters. During April there is a turkey hunt. Waterfowl hunting is permitted in designated areas during state (Georgia and South Carolina) seasons. A portion of the refuge in Georgia is set aside for a youth archery hunt and waterfowl hunt. Alligator hunting, though currently allowed in Georgia, is prohibited within refuge boundaries.For more information on refuge hunts and to receive permit applications for the quota hunts, please call the headquarters ofce 843/784 2468 or visit our website (www.fws.gov/savannah).U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service