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Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge facts for kids

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Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN Category IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)
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Location Virgin Islands, United States
Nearest city Charlotte Amalie, VI
Area 45 acres (0.18 km²)
Established 1969
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge
Coordinates 18°16′41.5″N 64°53′33.6″W / 18.278194°N 64.892667°W / 18.278194; -64.892667
Year first constructed 1913 (first)
Year first lit 1990s (current)
Deactivated 1990s. (first)
Foundation concrete basement
Construction steel tower (first)
metal skeletal tower (current)
Tower shape square frustum tower with balcony and lantern (first)
square prism skeletal tower with balcony and light (current)
Markings / pattern white tower, black lantern (first)
unpainted tower (current)
Height 8 metres (26 ft) (first)
12 metres (39 ft)
Focal height 42 metres (138 ft) (current)
Range 8 nautical miles (15 km; 9.2 mi)
Characteristic Fl W 4s.
Admiralty number J5628
NGA number 14632
ARLHS number VIR-002 (first)
USCG number 3-32565

Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge is located about 2 miles (4 km) south of the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands of the United States. There are actually two "Buck Islands." The National Wildlife Refuge occupies the one near St. Thomas. The one just north of St. Croix is the centerpiece of Buck Island Reef National Monument. Adjacent to the refuge is Capella Island, about half the size of Buck, owned by the territorial government.

The refuge is characterized by a thorn scrub habitat with rocky coastline surrounded by spectacular reefs. A lighthouse (still maintained by the United States Coast Guard) stands over 45 acres (180,000 m2) of cactus and grassland. The island was transferred to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service due to "its value for migratory birds." The U.S. Navy transferred some lands in 1969 and the remainder was received from the Coast Guard in 1981. The surrounding waters contain reefs and a shipwreck that attract large numbers of snorkelers, divers, and boaters.

The islands are surrounded by beautiful coral reef habitats and an artificial reef – a shipwreck. The marine area is home to a variety of fish and animals, in particular endangered sea turtles. Visitors can see the islands from St. Thomas by boat, including snorkeling and diving trips from boats such as Heavenly Days Catamaran.

Turtle Cove, on the northwest side, is densely populated with sea turtles. Tours of Turtle Cove are available from St. John and St. Thomas.

Buck Island NWR is administered as part of the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife complex.

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