National Wildlife Refuge
Susan Silander, Project Leader
Caribbean Islands NWR Complex
Laguna Cartagena NWR
P.O. Box 510
Boqueron, PR 00622
Phone: 787/851 7258
Fax: 787/255 6725
* Established: 1989.
* Acres: 1,059.
* Location: easiest access is at the
pedestrian gates in Maguayo, PR
on Route 305, or near Hacienda
Desengano on Route 306 south of
m Administered under Caribbean
Island NWRs complex.
* The present lagoon is a remnant
of what was once a large open
expanse of water and one of the
most important freshwater
habitats for migrating waterfowl
and aquatic birds in Puerto Rico.
Due to agricultural practices,
about 90 percent of the lagoon is
covered with cattail.
m In addition to the lagoon, there are
uplands that include pastureland,
abandoned sugar cane fields, and
263 acres in the foothills of the
Sierra Bermeja. These hills,
geologically the oldest in the
Caribbean, protect native forest
with many endemic plant species.
Financial Impact of Refuge
m No staff.
* 1,000 visitors annually.
To restore and maintain this locally
important wetland ecosystem for the
benefit of endangered species and
* Water management.
m Law enforcement.
m Plant control.
Public Use Opportunities
m Wildlife observation and nature
Questions and Answers
What has been done to alleviate the
flooding situation in the town of
Maguayo, which is directly east of
the refuge lagoon?
Due to past agricultural practices,
most of the lagoon is now choked with
vegetation which impedes the normal
flow of water. As a consequence,
Maguayo occasionally floods during
periods of heavy rain. In 1995, the
Service initiated a challenge-cost
share restoration project. To date,
accomplishments include construction
of a water control structure, removal
of some vegetation using a dragline,
and partial completion of a water
diversion canal in the lagoon.
Is the refuge open to the public?
Yes, the refuge is open during
daylight hours, seven days a week.
What bird species might I see at
Historically, almost half of the birds
in Puerto Rico have been seen in the
area. Visitors may see the Smooth
billed Anis, Magnificent Frigatebird,
several species of herons, the
Blackbird, and others.
Why is cattle grazing allowed on
Limited grazing is being used as an
intermediate management tool to
reduce buildup of grass fuel loads,
and to open grass areas to facilitate
woody vegetation regeneration.
Is waterfowl hunting allowed on the
Prior to becoming a refuge, the area
was open to waterfowl hunting. At
present, the refuge does not have
sufficient numbers of birds tojustify