Resource Management

Bottomland Hardwoods - 512 x 285

Mathews Brake National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 2,418 acres in west-central Mississippi. Established in 1980, the refuge is one of seven national wildlife refuges in the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The primary habitat feature is Mathews Brake, the largest brake in Leflore County. Each winter the brake provides habitat for over 30,000 ducks.

Bottomland Hardwood Restoration and Management

Mathews Brake is totally surrounded by intensive crop production. Farming operations on the refuge were phased out in 1991 and 1992. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began planting native hardwood seedlings on the cropland in 1992 and by 1993 all reforestation efforts were complete.

The restoration and management of bottomland hardwood forests provides habitat for sustainable wildlife populations including migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, and game species. Forest management activities include reforestation, pre-commercial treatment and commercial timber harvest. Forest management is currently conducted Complex wide in accordance with an approved Forest Management Plan that is designed to meet wildlife habitat objectives.

The plan emphasizes activities that protect, restore, and manage the functions and values of the forest to support viable populations of native flora and fauna, consistent with sound biological principles. Priority is given to management activities for federal trust species such as migratory birds. Forest management prescriptions include timber stand improvement, commercial timber harvest, and reforestation.

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. On this refuge trapping occurs only as a wildlife management tool and is prohibited by the public. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations. Click here for more information.