What We Do

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.