U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Southeast Region News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        Vicki M. Boatwright 

March 13, 1997                                or Diana M. Hawkins



             NEW NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE PROPOSED

                      FOR BLACK BAYOU LAKE



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed the establishment of a new national wildlife refuge in northeastern Louisiana. According to the Service's Southeast Regional Director, Noreen K. Clough, the new refuge will be located on up to 6,200 acres of land and water on Black Bayou Lake in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana.

The Service is seeking public comments on a draft environmental assessment and land protection plan for the establishment of the proposed refuge. The assessment considers the biological, environmental, and socioeconomic effects of establishing the refuge. It also evaluates three alternatives for the protection of the proposed refuge area and the potential environmental impacts.

"The purpose of the proposed refuge is to protect, enhance, and manage the habitats of Black Bayou Lake and certain surrounding lands for the benefit of the lake's fishery, resident and migratory waterfowl, wading birds, neotropical migratory birds, and other native wildlife," Clough said.

The proposed refuge area is located immediately north of Monroe and West Monroe. The lake is a secondary source of water supply for the City of Monroe and is connected to Bayou de Siard, which serves as the primary source of water for the city.

Over the past several years, the Monroe City Council and the Chamber of Commerce have expressed considerable interest in seeking to protect Black Bayou Lake and ensure its continued availability for public use. In 1996, the City of Monroe purchased 1,661 acres on Black Bayou Lake. It has since offered to enter into a long-term lease with the Fish and Wildlife Service to create an overlay refuge on the property. The Service, therefore, proposes to establish the refuge by entering into this lease with the city and by acquiring certain lands around the lake through fee title purchases from willing sellers and through other leases and easements from willing landowners.

Copies of the draft environmental assessment for the proposed refuge are available for public review and comment until April 18, 1997. Requests for copies of the document and further information on the project should be addressed to Mr. Charles R. Danner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 or by telephone at 800/419- 9582. Public comments on the proposal should be sent to Mr. Danner no later than April 18, 1997, in order to be considered for the preparation of the final environmental assessment.

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Release #97-30


1997 News Releases

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