Places We Protect

Bullseye-Ferry Landing Preserve


Tall green marsh grass dominates the foreground, extending into the distance before ending at a narrow river. Low farm buildings are visible on the opposite shore.
Bullseye-Ferry Landing Preserve Tidal marshes along the Indian River abound with salt hay, cordgrass, seaside goldenrod, groundsel tree and hightide bush. © The Nature Conservancy

Sitting along the Indian River, Bullseye-Ferry Landing is a mosaic of diverse living communities.



In 1997, Austin “Pete” Okie and his family provided financing and other assistance to establish a TNC preserve along the banks of the Indian River in Sussex County. Today these 403 acres of lands and waters comprise the Bullseye-Ferry Landing Preserve.

Soon after, Pete and his family placed their farm under conservation easement with TNC. It was our first conservation easement in the state, paving the way for use of this creative tool to expand our work by another eight easements protecting 1,344 acres of some of Delaware’s best natural habitats. Because of their efforts, TNC recognized the Okie family as national Conservation Heroes during our 50th anniversary.

In 2007, TNC again worked with Pete Okie to protect an additional 118 acres of family lands. After TNC established permanent protections for the property, the land was transferred to the State of Delaware, which established the Marian R. Okie Memorial Wildlife Preserve at Poplar Thicket.




Southeastern Sussex County, DE

Map with marker: This preserve is closed to the public.


403 acres

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A bright red bird with black wings perches on a branch.
Scarlet Tanager More than 65 species of migratory songbirds can be found at Bullseye Ferry Landing Preserve. © Kelly Colgan Azar

Diverse Habitats

The diverse habitats of Bullseye-Ferry Landing support a wide variety of important plant life. The canopy of the dry upland forest is dominated by oaks, hickories, dogwoods and the occasional state-rare shortleaf pine. 

Tidal marshes along the Indian River abound with salt hay, cordgrass, seaside goldenrod, groundsel tree and hightide bush. A small bog fed by a creek flowing from adjacent woodlands is home to several rare species, including twisted spike-rush, slender beakrush and delicate sedge. 

The mature woods and river frontage of Bullseye-Ferry Landing provide a valuable feeding, resting and nesting habitat for more than 65 species of migratory songbirds such as the ovenbird, red-eyed vireo and scarlet tanager. Many species rely on the forest for habitat and nesting sites, including the hairy woodpecker, red-tailed hawk, eastern box turtle and five-lined skink.

TNC closely monitors several small populations of the invasive plant, Phragmites, and works to keep this weedy species from spreading any further. In 2016 we removed 22 acres of farm land from production, transforming them into new forest lands, which will provide habitat for even more wonderful wildlife species.

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Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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