About the Refuge

About the Refuge

D’Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge is managed for the conservation, enhancement, and restoration of bottomland hardwood forests and important, associated upland habitats as an integral component of the Lower Mississippi River Ecosystem.

 

D'Arbonne NWR, located north of West Monroe, Louisiana, lies on the western edge of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. It was established in 1975 to protect bottomland hardwood forest and provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl. Additionally, the refuge provides habitat for alligators, bald eagles, the little known Rafinesque's big-eared bat, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The refuge is bisected by 13 miles of Bayou D’Arbonne, a stream in the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System, and is crisscrossed by numerous creeks, sloughs and oxbow lakes. Cypress swamps, bottomland hardwood and upland forests complete the landscape that is habitat for a diverse group of plants and animals.

In years of normal or above rainfall, the refuge’s bottomland hardwood forest is a very important overflow area for the Ouachita River floodplain. High water levels, which usually occur between January and May, can flood up to 87% of the refuge. The wetland forests not only provide habitat to wetland dependent wildlife, they also reduce damage from flooding in developed areas, filter silt and other particles from the water, help neutralize pollutants and provide recharge areas for aquifers.