Resource Management

Louisiana Black Bear habitat

Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge located near Franklin, Louisiana was established in 2001 with a primary mission being to provide habitat and refuge for the Louisiana black bear. This uniquely adapted southern subspecies of the American black bear finds habitat components in several sections of the Refuge.

The Refuge is managed to restore and maintain a mosaic of bottomland hardwood forests, cypress-tupelo-blackgum swamps, and marshes in order to provide a high quality and diverse bear environment. Habitat within the Refuge provides nuts, fruits, and berries, an understory of other food plants, and denning sites. Seasonal closures of some areas protect denning habitat. Many other species such as neotropical songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, and shorebirds, benefit from the habitat management techniques used to maintain, recover, and enhance bear habitat. 

Invasive species often displace more desirable native flora and fauna and cause imbalances in natural systems. At Bayou Teche, the Chinese tallow tree has invaded levee spoil banks - an important travel corridor for bears. Canals and other open water areas are being affected by exotic water hyacinth and salvinia. Large floating mats of these plants can impede boat traffic and cause damage to the habitat. Feral hogs and nutria are also present on the Refuge and can damage the native ecosystem. Refuge staff work to monitor and control these problematic species.