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Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge is Temporarily Closed due to the effects of Hurricane Rita


September 30, 2005

Janet Ertel , 337/828-0092, Fax: 337/828-006

The Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge has been temporarily closed due to the effects of Hurricane Rita. The Refuge archery deer and small game seasons, originally scheduled to begin on October 1, are postponed until further notice.

The Refuge was flooded with storm surge waters covering important wildlife habitat with saline water. “About two-thirds of the refuge is covered in saltwater, and Bayou Teche is a freshwater refuge,” said Janet Ertel, Acting Refuge Manager. “We will re-open the refuge when the floodwaters recede, and it is safe for the public to return.”

Days after the storm the impacted areas are still under water and wildlife is suffering the affects of fatigue, disruption of feeding behavior and loss of natural foods and access to fresh water. Refuge access roads and trails were also flooded and remain flooded or soft.

This is a temporary closure and the Refuge will be re-opened after the short-term affects of Hurricane Rita are past. This closure affects the hunt seasons which had been scheduled to begin this Saturday, October 01. The hunt season openings have been delayed, and permit holders are asked to stay tuned for updates in your local paper and on the Refuge website (

Established in 2001, Bayou Teche is 9,028 acres of bottomland hardwoods and cypress-tupelo forests. The refuge’s primary purpose is for the management of Louisiana black bears which are federally listed as threatened. Alligators, deer, wading birds, and bald eagles also populate the refuge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices, and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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