What We Do

Cat Island National Wildlife Refuges' conservation goal is to conserve, restore, and manage native forested wetland habitats for migratory birds, aquatic resources, and endangered and threatened plants and animals.

Management and Conservation

Refuge staff use a variety of resource management techniques to maintain, recover or enhance plants and wildlife and the habitats they rely on.

Invasive Species Management

Harmful introduced species degrade, change or displace native habitats and compete with indigenous plants and wildlife. Monitoring and control of these nuisance species is an integral part of refuge management. We control feral hogs on the refuge

Deer Harvest Management

Deer hunting is a significant public use on Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, and is used to manage the deer herd and as a result to support healthy habitat. Deer populations are managed to remain under carrying capacity or at a density that the habitat can support. Removing a portion of the herd annually with the appropriate age structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish…

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and sex ratios will result in a healthy herd.

Our Projects and Research

We currently have two research projects on the refuge.  The first is the vulnerability assessment of baldcypress swamps to climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's…

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at the edge of their range conducted by the United States Geological Survey.   

Mississippi River Sediment Delivery and Hydraulic Connectivity to the Cat Island Swamp

This study is spearheaded by Tulane University. Looking at LiDar data in conjunction with core samples, the study will determine how much sediment is being deposited by the Mississippi River with prolonged flooding events. The project will develop a GIS map of elevation in the refuge (using LiDAR data) that will be referenced to Mississippi River stage gage elevation, correcting for slope of the river's surface over the river miles that the refuge extends. This will produce a map of predicted flood elevation depths in the refuge and surrounding private lands.  Sedimentation monitoring sites will be established across a range of land cover (forest habitat) and geomorphological gradients.  Cores will be examined to look at sedimentation rates on timescales of decades to a century.  Core material will be examined to differentiate the sediments between river-derived and leaf litter that is locally derived.  The study will look in detail at sedimentation that occurred in the 2020 and 2021 flood events using the cores, feldspar plots and ceramic tiles.  This will allow us to examine the specific characteristics of Mississippi River floods of known magnitude and sediment transport characteristics. 

Law Enforcement

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a law enforcement presence on National Wildlife Refuge lands for wildlife and public safety. Our refuge law enforcement officers protect fish, wildlife, plants and other natural, cultural and historic resources by fostering understanding and instilling in the visiting public an appreciation of refuge resources, laws, and regulations.