Big Branch Marsh NWR is one of eight refuges managed as
part of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex. Prior to
establishing the refuge, area wetlands were threatened by urban expansion from
the city of New Orleans. Several local organizations, including Northshore
Coastal Watch, St. Tammany Sportsman’s League, Coalition to Restore Coastal
Louisiana, and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, supported and initiated
the establishment of the refuge. These organizations lobbied local
senators and congressmen to save the wetland areas, which resulted in the
establishment of the refuge.
It is comprised of over 18,000 acres of offshore grass beds,
marshes, hardwood hammocks and pine ridges. With a variety of habitat on the
refuge, shorebirds, wading birds, neotropical songbird migrants and a host of
year-round resident waterfowl can be found here. Deer, rabbit, mink, otter, raccoon, muskrat,
and nutria all make their home here, and the marshes provide critical spawning
and nursery habitat for a number of fresh and saltwater species.
Click here to learn about conservation efforts at Big Branch Marsh.