For Immediate Release
February 11, 1999

Contact: Tom MacKenzie
404/679-7291

TWO NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES
RECEIVE $150,000 REFORESTATION GRANT

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received $150,000 in grants from Utilitree Carbon Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for reforestation. The monies will be used to reforest approximately 1,400 acres of former agricultural land - 1,000 acres on the Mollicy Unit of Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge and 400 acres on the Overflow National Wildlife Refuge.

Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge is located in Union and Morehouse Parishes in Northeast Louisiana, and Overflow National Wildlife Refuge is located just across the Louisiana State line near Wilmot, Arkansas. Both refuges contain large agricultural units that represent former wetland habitat. In fact, the Mollicy Unit of Upper Ouachita Refuge represents the largest agricultural holding of the Service's more than 500 national refuges.

According to Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director, the grant will help the Service improve wildlife habitat and restore wetlands on both refuges. "Both refuge units will be replanted with several species of bottomland hardwood seedlings, which are effective in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Hamilton said the water quality of the Quachita River would be significantly improved because erosion and runoff would be reduced. "Not only would degraded wetlands be restored, but the increased habitat diversity would eventually provide more public recreational opportunities on both refuges," he said.

Utilitree Carbon Company is a consortium of 41 North American electric utilities and was established to implement forest carbon sequestration projects which reduce the amount of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. Utilitree has committed over $2.5 million to remove more than 2 million tons of carbon dioxide through five forestry projects. The projects are a mix of rural planting, forest preservation, forest management and research efforts at both domestic and international sites. Forest carbon management opportunities can be among the most economical ways to address carbon dioxide, often costing as little as a few dollars per ton. Utilitree has also provided an additional $70,000 grant to Louisiana Tech University and Stephen F. Austin University to keep track of the amount of carbon dioxide reduction from this reforestation effort.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System composed of than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, and

78 Ecological Services field stations.

The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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Release #: R99-017


1999 News Releases

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