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Coordinates: 29°25′15″N 91°50′45″W / 29.42083°N
Shell Keys National Wildlife Refuge is located
is located in the offshore waters to the west of the Atchafalaya
River Delta, south of Marsh Island Wildlife Management Area. It was
established in 1907 and is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Due to coastal erosion, the refuge boundary is not well defined.
It has been described as "... a small group of unsurveyed islets
located in the Gulf of Mexico about three and one half
miles south of Marsh Island (Louisiana), and
approximately at latitude 29 degrees 26 minutes north, longitude 91
degrees 51 minutes west from Greenwich..." The boundary of the
refuge has been interpreted to be those areas in this vicinity that
are above mean high tide.
For a number of years, there has been only one islet at this
location. This islet is composed almost entirely of shell
fragments. It is extremely dynamic and builds or recedes with
passing storms. Vegetation is almost entirely lacking. Birds known
to nest here include royal terns, sandwich terns, black skimmers, and laughing gulls. In addition, the islet is
used at various times as a loafing area by white pelicans, brown pelicans, and various other species
of terns and gulls. Recent hurricanes and storms have eroded the
island to such an extent that no nesting has occurred since 1992.
Public access to the refuge is restricted due to its
This article incorporates public
domain material from the United States
Government document "U.S. Fish and Wildlife