What We Do
Located in southwest Mississippi, the refuge contains a diverse array of habitat types, including bottomland hardwoods, cypress swamps, upland hardwoods on the loess bluffs, and small cliffs made from wind-blown sediment. It also has moist soil impoundments, reforested areas, fallow fields and accreted land. Flooding from the Mississippi River occurs from winter through early summer, preserving a naturally functioning bottomland hardwood system and a bountiful diversity of fish, wildlife and plant species. The perennial pools in the ridges and swells of the floodplain landscape also provide important spawning habitat and year-round refuge for alligator gar.
St. Catherine Creek , established for wintering waterfowl, sits in the floodplain of the Mississippi River where manipulating water levels is the refuge’s most important management tool. Water is actively managed on nearly 1,000 acres of refuge impoundments or shallow water pools to provide a variety of wetland conditions to produce plants for waterfowl, mudflat for shorebirds, and shallow water for wading birds. Raising and lowering water levels throughout the year simulates natural and dynamic wetland cycles.
St. Catherine Creek NWR has had an active cooperative farming program to provide food and habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife. The farmer may utilize a portion of the refuge to plant crops and leaves unharvested grain crops, such as corn, milo, and rice, as rent. In doing so, the farmer manages the early successional habitat and provides high energy foods for waterfowl, all the while allowing the refuge to fulfill its mandate efficiently and successfully.