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Bogue Chitto
National Wildlife Refuge

James A. Schmidt Boardwalk
(mailing address)
61389 Hwy. 434
Lacombe, LA   70445
E-mail: boguechitto@fws.gov
Phone Number: 985-882-2000
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
James A. Schmidt Boardwalk
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Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge

On June 30, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed Public Law 96-288 authorizing the 40,000-acre BogueChitto National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington and St. Tammany Parishes, LA, and Pearl River County,MS. Since that time, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been acquiring bottomland hardwood habitat in the Pearl River Basin. On December 13, 1989, Congress authorized a boundary expansion for Bogue Chitto NWR that included an additional 8,400 acres of bottomland hardwoods in St. Tammany Parish. To date, some 36,500 acres have been placed under refuge management. The refuge is still in an acquisition phase.

White-tail deer, squirrel, turkey and hog hunting and fishing is offered to the public. The endangered and threatended species found on the refuge are ringed-sawback turtle, gopher tortoise, inflated heelsplitter mussel, and gulf sturgeon. Access is primarily by boat on the refuge's Louisiana side and road access is available on the refuge's Mississippi side. The Holmes Bayou Trail is a 3/4 mile walking trail that offers a unique journey into the interior of Bogue Chitto's majestic habitat.

Bogue Chitto NWR is primarily composed of bottomland hardwood habitat interlaced by the Bogue Chitto and Pearl River Systems. Numerous sloughs, bayous and lakes are located on the refuge. Water levels fluctuate by several feet from their low point in the summer to winter/spring flood stage. Over 90% of the refuge can be flooded during seasonal high river periods. The mixed hardwood forest includes water oak, overcup oak, American elm, sweetgum, and swamp red maple on higher elevations and bald cypress, tupelo gum, and swamp blackgum along the wettest areas. Mid-story in mixed hardwoods includes ironwood, arrowwood, Virginia willow and reproduction of the overstory. Typical mid-story plants along the sloughs and bayous are buttonbush, swamp privet, and water elm.

Getting There . . .
Bogue Chitto NWR is located about 45 miles north of New Orleans, LA. To reach the southern tip of the refuge, take I-59 N to Pearl River Turnaround exit or take Highway 41 north of Slidell and access the refuge at Locks 1, 2, & 3. To access the Mississippi side of the refuge take I-59 N to the Picayune, MS exit. For further directions, please contact Southeast Louisiana Refuges 61389 Highway 434, Lacombe, Louisiana 70445, or call 985-882-2000.

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Wildlife and Habitat

The refuge is home to hundreds of bird species. The most abudant species are the neotropical song bird migrants. Some neotropical migrants found on the refuge are: Prothonotary and Swainson's Warblers, Flycatchers, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and White-eyed Vireo. In smaller numbers found on the refuge are migratory game birds such as woodcock and turkey, wading birds such as egrets and herons, waterfowl such as wood duck, and raptors such as hawks and owls.

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Management Activities
Some management goals we are trying to achieve at Bogue Chitto NWR are conservation, enhancement, endangered species management, environmental education, and compatible wildlife-oriented recreation. The refuge management program to date has centered on basic resource protection and management through law enforcement, resource inventory, forest management, and administration of a highly popular public use program.

The public use program on the refuge provides for continuing traditional uses of the swamp, such as hunting, fishing, and primitive camping. Bogue Chitto NWR is composed primarily of bottomland hardwood habitat with a limited amount of upland pine forest. Forest management is usually at the forefront of our management activities. One way we achieve a vibrant habitat on Bogue Chitto NWR is through Forest Stand Improvement. This involves thinning out of undesirable species by timber harvest or herbicides. There was also some reforestation of longleaf pine and mixed hardwood species. Hurricane Katrina has provided a massive amount of forest regeneration.

There is also a prescribed burning program that takes place on the pine lands of Bogue Chitto NWR. One of the main reasons we do prescribed burning on Bogue Chitto is to provide foraging habitat for the threatened gopher tortoise found on the refuge. The gopher tortoise needs low grassy ground cover to thrive, which prescribed burning provides. Prescribed burning also provides new nutient-rich grasses through succession.