Big Branch Marsh
National Wildlife Refuge
61389 Hwy. 434
Lacombe, LA 70445
Phone Number: 985-882-2000
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|A cypress slough just before dawn.|
Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in October 1994, and is comprised of over 18,000 acres of coastal marsh and pine forested wetlands. Of this total, the Conservation Fund has donated over 10,000 acres to the Service from Richard King Mellon Foundation funds. The purpose of the refuge is to protect some of the only Lake Pontchartrain shoreline that exists in its natural state and to provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife species, with special emphases on migratory birds and endangered species. The refuge supports over 5,000 wintering waterfowl, including mallards, gadwall and Northern Pintails. The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker nests in the refuge's pine forests. Public use opportunities include hunting, fishing, environmental education, wildlife observation, photography and interpretation.
Getting There . . .
To get to the visitor Center take Interstate 12 to exit 74. Go south on LA Hwy. 434 and drive 2 miles, look for the signs on the right.
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Coastal erosion control is performed on the refuge by planting native marsh plants at stategic locations along the lakeshore. Prescribed burning is the primary management tool being used on Big Branch Marsh NWR. This slows plant succession in marshes and pine savannahs. Burning is required to provide appropriate habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and to reduce the chance of uncontrollable wildfires in the future.