Resource Management

Photo of firefighters conducting a prescribed fire behind the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge's Headquarters building on the Overton Bottoms North unit of the refuge.

For the benefit of plants and wildlife, refuge staff utilize a variety of habitat management techniques - such as the prescribed fire pictured above - to maintain, recover or enhance plant and wildlife. Refuge staff carefully consider which techniques to apply, and employ them to varying degrees depending upon each unique situation.

  • River Restoration Projects

    BM Chute

    The Refuge works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the development of side channels and other shallow water habitat to support native fish and wildlife. Refuge staff work with engineers to design methods of construction of aquatic habitats as well as alterations of navigational structures within rivers so that the river system will create similar habitat within refuge boundaries.

  • Invasive Plant Removal

    Photo of invasive plant removal on the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

    Refuge staff regularly work on removing non-native invasive plant species. Beneficial native plants are then planted to shade out or out-compete non-native plant invasions with the aim of restoring native habitat. When necessary, refuge staff apply herbicide to control non-native species using environmentally safe application procedures.

  • Bird Monitoring

    Meadolark on Overton Bottoms South By Ashley Riedel USFWS

    Refuge staff regularly conduct migratory waterfowl, prairie and forest bird surveys to assess status, trends, and changes in populations and habitat use. This information is vital for planning and resource management to conserve birds and their native habitats.

  • Pollinator Monitoring

    Photo of a Mason bee (Megachilidae, Osmia sp.) collected during a bee survey on the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in 2009 by Ashley Riedel/USFWS.

    Refuge biologists monitor pollinators on the refuge. Because little is known about these beneficial insects and their critical role in the floodplain environment of the refuge, staff capture and identify them and monitor the type of habitat and plants they utilize in the hopes they may provide some of the first clues in climate change alterations to the environment.

  • Trapping

    Photo of a white USFWS Trapping Area sign, which reads "Trapping Area for wildlife conservation and management. See refuge website for more details.", taken at the Big Muddy NFWR Headquarters building kiosk on the Overton Bottoms North Unit by Ashley Riedel/USFWS.

    Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds, or to control wildlife populations of concern. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when practiced responsibly during times of surpluses of some fur-bearing mammals, Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (NFWR) only utilizes trapping as a wildlife management tool; therefore, trapping is prohibited by the public on all Big Muddy NFWR units.

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