Zeke’s Island Reserve
Zeke’s Island Reserve is located in the Cape Fear River basin. One of the three original National Estuarine Research Reserve components dedicated by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the Division of Coastal Management in 1985. The lagoon-like intertidal complex found at the Zeke’s Island Reserve is one of the most important shorebird feeding habitats on the East Coast. Bird species such as dunlin, black-bellied plovers, short-billed dowitchers, white ibis, and great blue herons as well as black ducks, mallards, and pintails have been recorded at Zeke’s Island.
The lagoon-like complex at the Zeke’s Island site is one of the most unusual areas of the North Carolina coast. The entire site is 1,635 acres and includes Zeke’s Island, North Island, No Name Island, a beach barrier spit and extensive fringing marshes and tidal flats.
While shoals and marshes have continued to appear and disappear within the Basin, Zeke’s, No Name, and North Islands have remained stable relative to the beach barrier spit. Though their shorelines periodically increase and erode. Zeke’s and No Name Islands have elevations of only a few feet, while North Island has several scattered dune systems, one of which reaches to twenty feet above sea level. The unusual characteristics of the site have created a variety of habitats, including tidal flats, salt marshes, shrub thicket, maritime forest, sand dunes, ocean beach, and the hard surface of the rocks. Beach amaranth has been found on the site’s foredune areas. Fish, shrimp, crabs, clams, and oysters use the estuary as a nursery ground. Both the Atlantic loggerhead and green sea turtles, federally protected threatened species, occasionally nest on the site’s open beaches. The expanse of intertidal flats in the Zeke’s Island vicinity is the single most important shorebird habitat in southeastern North Carolina. Dunlin, black-bellied plovers, short-billed dowitchers, white ibis, and great blue herons as well as black ducks, mallards, and pintails have been recorded there.
Zeke’s Island Estuarine Reserve (formal name) is located next to Federal Point and the Fort Fisher State Recreation area to the north, and Smith Island to the south. The Atlantic Ocean lies on its eastern borders, while the Cape Fear River can be found to the west, which provides miles of shorelines on both side of the islands.
from: North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
Zeke’s Island Reserve
Hwy 421 South
Kure Beach, NC 28449
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George Randy Bass
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12400-3 Wake Union Church Rd
Wake Forest, NC 27587