Upper Ouachita and Felsenthal Refuge Expansion Proposal
Conserving the Nature of America
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Overview of the Proposal


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the states of Louisiana and Arkansas and a variety of public and private partners to propose expanding the acquisition boundaries of Upper Ouachita and Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuges. Upper Ouachita NWR is administered from North Louisiana Refuges with a current refuge boundary of 42,594 acres and an approved acquisition boundary of 60,699 acres, and Felsenthal NWR, administered from South Arkansas Refuges, is 65,000 acres. The total number of acres proposed for this landscape expansion includes 31,970 acres for Felsenthal NWR and 18,489 acres for Upper Ouachita NWR.

The states and federal government have parallel wildlife and habitat conservation goals in this area. This proposal helps combine these goals and the efforts of other partners into one larger, combined project conservation area that includes non-governmental and local organizations.

This proposal supports the states of Louisiana and Arkansas Comprehensive Conservation Strategies and Wildlife Action Plans and complements the states’ landscape conservation efforts, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Recovery Plan, the Partners- In-Flight Initiative, and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

In the tradition of America’s Great Outdoors initiative, it seeks to conserve a large functional landscape for wildlife, ecosystem services, and historic and cultural resource protection, while also providing the American public with outstanding recreational opportunities.


How Can We Taxpayers Afford this Land in a Time of Tight Budgets?


If approved, the Service will draw funding for this land acquisition from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. These are not derived from traditional tax revenues, but are collected from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps, entrance fees from certain national wildlife refuges, and import duties on arms and ammunition (Migratory Bird Conservation Fund), and from the sale of offshore
oil leases (Land and Water Conservation Fund). The money is intended for land conservation. The policy of the Fish and Wildlife Service is to acquire land from willing sellers only.


Who's Involved


This partnership landscape planning effort includes:

  • Area landowners
  • The general public
  • National Wildlife Refuge Association
  • Friends of Felsenthal NWR
  • Trust for Public Lands
  • The Conservation Fund
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • State of Louisiana, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
  • State of Arkansas, Arkansas Fish and Game Commission, Beryl Anthony WMA
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior



A sunset over water and trees

Black Bayou. Photo: R. David Breithaupt.

Two black bears in a tree nest

These threatened Louisiana black bears are one of many animals that would benefit from this expansion. Photo: Rick Eastridge, USFWS.

Alligator in water

Alligator. Photo: Mack Barham.

Last updated: February 25, 2013