U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Southeast Region News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              Diana M. Hawkins 404-679-7289

May 28, 1996                       Lisa Creasman    504-338-1040



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana announce the establishment of Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge, a 4,618-acre refuge in Terrebone Parrish, Louisiana, near Houma. The Service's Southeast Regional Director, Noreen K. Clough, said that the Service plans to develop the refuge for the public's use in sport fishing, wildlife observation, and limited hunting. "The traditional uses of the area will be maintained to the greatest extent possible," Clough said.

The site was purchased by The Conservancy with grants from Dow Chemical U.S.A., the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council and local supporters. The Conservancy donated the property to the Service for the express purpose of creating a new national wildlife refuge.

The Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, Lisa Creasman, said that Mandalay provides important foraging habitat for the federally threatened bald eagle, which nests nearby, and supports tens of thousands of wintering waterfowl. She added that the expansive marshes, forested wetlands and live oak ridges support many species, including alligators, snapping turtles, and countless neotropical migratory birds. The refuge serves also as habitat for several rookeries of white ibis, great egret, snowy egret, and little blue and Louisiana herons.

"We are excited about the role The Nature Conservancy has played in protecting this incredible resource for future generations," Creasman said.

Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is situated on a complex of freshwater marshes and wetlands in southcentral Louisiana. Strategically located at the southern terminus of the Mississippi Flyway, the refuge is identified as a top priority conservation project of the Gulf Coast Joint Venture of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

The North American Waterfowl Management Plan, signed by the United States and Canada on May 14, 1986, provides a framework for the long-range restoration of the continent's dwindling migratory waterfowl populations. The Plan is being carried out through nine cooperative joint venture partnerships involving federal, provincial, state, and local agencies and private conservation organizations stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Arctic. The Gulf Coast Joint Venture is one of the key partnerships involved in the restoration of waterfowl populations on the Mississippi and Central flyways.

Acting Refuge Manager Paul Yakupzack noted that the Service's top priority in coming months will be the control of water hyacinth and other undesirable vegetation in the refuge's canals and waterways. "By controlling this vegetation, wildlife habitat will be improved and the public will have easy access to the refuge," he said.

The Nature Conservancy, a private non-profit organization, has operated in the United States for more than 40 years. It has saved more than 8 million acres of wildlife habitat and maintains more than 1,600 preserves that provide homes for rare and endangered species. These lands and preserves also help retain some entire ecosystems, once common, but now rapidly disappearing.

X X X Release #96-35

1996 News Releases

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