What We Do
Our primary goal at Delta National Wildlife Refuge is to provide refuge and sanctuary for migratory birds and other wildlife. Our major management activities include wetland restoration, law enforcement, wildlife monitoring, and monitoring oil and gas operations.
Management and Conservation
We conduct several key management activities to support our objective to provide refuge and sanctuary for migratory birds and other wildlife.
The refuge is part of a dynamic river delta system. Land subsidence and storms and the inroads made by human made canals convert marsh to open water, allowing salt water to move into formerly brackish or fresh water zones, killing less salt-tolerant vegetation and causing erosion and loss of substrate. We counter these forces with strategically located sediment splays (made by breaching the natural levees via a cut or crevasse) to allow sediment to re-nourish the marsh and replace lost sediments. We also work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to place dredging spoils along shorelines to build up land and protect the marsh from erosion. The majority of the crevasses are funded by mitigation dollars paid by oil and gas companies in compensation for the loss of wetlands. Partners include Ducks Unlimited.
Maintaining Sanctuary for Wintering Waterfowl
Wintering ducks and geese require significant energy and nutrition to support molting, the growth of new feathers, and preparation for spring migration. Disturbance-free habitat allows waterfowl to prepare for spring migration and reproduction. We work to maintain a productive mix of emergent marsh and open water to provide food and cover for migratory bird species. We designated a portion of the refuge as closed to hunting and work with law enforcement to maintain this sanctuary for wintering waterfowl in the interior of the refuge.
Monitoring Migratory Birds and Wintering Waterfowl
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists conduct aerial surveys of bird populations while observing and evaluating marsh habitat.
We removesuch as feral hogs, which cause habitat significant destruction in this fragile environment.
Oil and Gas Monitoring
Extensive oil and gas activities occur on the refuge. We work with the industry operators and with agency partners to minimize the risk of oil spills and mitigate spills that occur.
There are no services available at the refuge. Because the refuge is accessible only by boat, most visitors visit for sportfishing and hunting. Other public uses include wildlife viewing, photography, and exploring by watercraft.
Our Projects and Research
Wintering ducks and geese need lots of energy and nutrition to support molting, the growth of new feathers, and spring migration. Disturbance-free habitat allows waterfowl to prepare for spring migration and reproduction. Refuge managers and law enforcement work to maintain a sanctuary for wintering waterfowl in the interior of the refuge. We also work to maintain a productive mix of emergent marsh and open water as food and cover for migratory birds. We collaborate with other agencies and organizations on marsh restoration projects to help maintain the integrity and productivity of this rich ecosystem. We also support research on wildlife and habitat, including wildlife surveys and studies of Roseau cane die-off.
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.