Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Conservation and Management


Conservation and management of the nation’s fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats is part of the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.  Wildlife populations on the refuge are monitored.  Annual surveys conducted on Black Bayou Lake NWR by refuge biologist include:  alligator, breeding bird, frog and toad, deer browse, mid-winter eagle, and mid-winter waterfowl.  Hunting is used as a tool to manage deer populations.

Biology professors and students from the University of Louisiana at Monroe have partnered with Black Bayou Lake refuge in research projects on birds, fishes, reptiles and amphibians. The alligator snapping turtle, a species that has declined drastically across most of the south, nests along the shores of the lake. Nest surveys are conducted annually. Because of nest predation by raccoons, alligator snapping turtle eggs are taken to the university for incubation and hatchlings are released back into the lake. The refuge has a nest box program for prothonotary warblers, wood ducks and blue birds. Wood ducks are banded on the refuge each year.



Eight hundred acres of former agricultural fields have been reforested with eleven bottomland hardwood tree species. Existing forested wetlands are managed for forest health and wildlife habitat. Establishing the arboretum and prairie demonstration areas required repeated planting and watering. Annual mowing or burning maintains the prairie area. Some of the young arboretum trees must be protected from deer and rabbits with wire cages.


Invasive Species

Control of invasive species, non-natives that cause biological problems, is a major activity on this refuge. Herbicide spraying helps to prevent water hyacinths from covering the lake. Controlling Chinese tallow trees, which are invading the reforested area of the refuge, is a matter of physically removing the trees and educating the public not to plant them as ornamental shade trees because birds disperse the seeds.



An oak on the right side of the photo stands silently in a snowly landscape

Oak in the Snow, © Leslie Calhoun. See photo at Friends of Black Bayou Lake.

A white water lily stands out against black ground

Water Lily, © Monique Keeling. See photo at Friends of Black Bayou Lake.


Last updated: November 15, 2011