Red River National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

 

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Welcome to Red River NWR

new refuge office buildings. Credit: USFWS

The Headquarters Unit of Red River NWR has a new Visitor Center and Education Center. Credit: USFWS

The Red River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters is located along the Red River in Bossier Parish, in northwestern Louisiana. The Headquarters Unit is open for fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography from sunrise to sunset seven days a week. The new Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and on most weekends. The Nature Store in the Visitor Center is currently open when trained volunteers are available. The Education Center is now open for programs; visit the Education and Interpretation link to schedule your request. Informational brochures about the Refuge and regulations regarding public use of the Refuge’s four units are available at the Visitor Center and in kiosks on the various units.

Red River NWR is on Facebook.

Also check out photos of Red River NWR on Flickr!

 

Lake Caroline is Now Open to Fishing and Boating

Our new boat ramp has opened at our Headquarters Unit, located off of the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway Extension in Bossier City. Only electric trolling motors and paddling allowed - all gas motors must remain off and out of the water. A Refuge Permit is required for fishing at Lake Caroline and on our other refuge units. The boat ramp and lake are open during daylight hours.

 

Last year's Refuge youth summer camps were such a big hit that we are planning to hold youth camps again in June 2014. See our camp flier for details. Registration starts April 1st. Complete the registration form and bring it into the Refuge or mail it in.

 

Did you know that Red River National Wildlife Refuge has a forestland restoration partnership with The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero® Program? Through this program, nearly 2,000 acres of fallow agricultural fields are now planted with native oaks, hickories and cypress tree seedlings on the Lower Cane River Unit of Red River National Wildlife Refuge. By planting trees, this partnership effort is restoring wildlife habitat, enhancing water quality, creating future recreational opportunities and trapping carbon dioxide.  Read the project implementation report for details.

From now until March 2nd, the public is invited to share their comments about this refuge reforestation effort. Submit your comments at The Conservation Fund website. Scroll down to the bottom of their website for the PIR Comments link.

 

Directions: The Refuge Headquarters has a new address: 150 Eagle Bend Point, Bossier City, LA 71112.

The Refuge Headquarters and Visitor Center is accessed via a dedicated exit from the new Arthur Ray Teague Parkway. If coming from Shreveport, go over the Jimmie Davis/70th Street Bridge and take the A.R. Teague Parkway ramp on the Bossier Parish side, drive south approximately .07 miles to the refuge entrance. Coming from the south in Bossier City, take Barksdale Blvd/Hwy 71 to the stop light intersection of Sligo Road by Parkway High School. Turn west onto the new Aruthur Ray Teague Parkway extension and drive approximately 2.5 miles to the entrance of Red River Refuge (on the left). If coming from north Bossier City, take the Aruther Ray Teague Parkway to the Refuge. From I-20, take the Hamilton Road Exit 20A. Turn south toward Diamond Jacks Casino, then turn left onto the A.R. Teague Parkway. Proceed approximately 6 miles to the Refuge entrance (on your right).

Click here for a google map showing the location of the Headquarters Unit of Red River National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Aerial view. Credit: USFWS

Aerial view. Credit: USFWS

Refuge History

The Red River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was created legislatively by the Red River National Wildlife Refuge Act - signed into law on October 13, 2000. The first land purchase was made in August 2002 consisting of 1,377 acres. According to legislation, the refuge shall consist of approximately 50,000 acres of Federal lands and waters along that section of the Red River between Colfax, Louisiana and the Arkansas state line, a distance of approximately 120 miles. Therefore, Red River NWR is comprised of a headquarters unit and four additional focus units.

Red River NWR is located in the Red River Valley which historically was forested with bottomland hardwoods, cypress sloughs and shrub/scrub swamps, providing a variety of habitats for wildlife. In the early 1800’s, settlers began clearing land for homesteads and farms after the Louisiana Purchase. The mid-1800’s brought more clearing for cotton farming and during the mid-1900’s, deforestation accelerated with the increase in soybean prices.

In 1870, Captain Shreve began clearing log jams to make the Red River more navigable and attempts to improve navigation continued with the completion of the lock and dam system in 1994. Completion of the Red River Waterway Project in 1994 led to higher and more consistent water levels in the river which has greatly reduced the turbidity. Water quality has improved and with the seasonal retention of water levels, a rich diversity of aquatic plants has developed.

Increased water levels on the river also improved condiditons for some wildlife. Flooded timber and farm fields with wet, depressional areas are now more common and are being used by wading birds, waterfowl, and other aimals. USDA programs such as the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) are restoring valuable wildlife habitat through the reforestation of marginal farmlands and highly erodible lands in the Red River Valley.

Once the 50,000 acres has been acquired, the refuge will connect with other conservation areas reducing habitat fragmentation and providing wildlife corridors and stop-over areas for migrating waterfowl and songbirds.

Red River NWR is a relatively new refuge, therefore public use areas and opportunities are being added as staff and funding grow.

For more information on the Red River Waterway Commission please visit: http://www.redriverwaterway.com/

 

Read about our plans for Red River NWR in the CCP document.

Finalized Comprehensive Conservation Plan

 

Refuge Bird Sightings

eBird is a real-time, online bird checklist that any birdwatcher can use. eBird is sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Here you can see which birds have been seen in the past month on the refuge by birdwatchers. If you want to add your sightings, sign up at ebird.org. List the birds you saw on the refuge under the “hotspot” for Red River NWR

 

Last updated: March 8, 2014