Refuges in the SELA Complex
Bayou Sauvage
Bayou Teche
Big Branch Marsh
Bogue Chitto
Refuge Locations
Contact Us

SELA Refuges Programs

Welcome to the Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex

Photo of mottled ducks at Big Branch Marsh NWR
© Tom Carlisle

You are invited to take a virtual tour of these eight refuges by viewing the links to the left.

The mission of these refuges and the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. These refuges are representative of the rich and varied habitat and wildlife resources of the coastal region of the state. They are part of a network of over 540 refuges throughout the country that are administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS).

SELA Refuges Complex Headquarters Location

The Southeast Louisiana Refuges' headquarters is located on a beautiful property in Lacombe, LA on Hwy 434 two miles south of I-12 (Exit 74). Watch for the Big Branch Marsh Refuge sign. Office Hours are 7 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday. Our phone number is (985) 882-2000. The headquarters property is known as "Bayou Lacombe Centre."

Photo of great egret in breeding plumage
© Tom Carlisle

Refuge Visitor Center

The refuge complex has opened its visitor center located at the complex headquarters address above. The center displays exhibits about all eight refuges managed by the Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex. Staffed by volunteers, the visitor center is open Thursdays-Saturdays from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Volunteers are needed to help run the visitor center. Please contact the volunteer coordinator at 985-882-2024.


Wild Things will be held October 17, 2015

This annual family event is hosted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and The Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, Inc.  An action-packed day is held at the 110-acre Bayou Lacombe Centre in Lacombe, LA from 10am to 5pm. There are over 40 guest exhibitors annually. For a video of the event, click here. Check out the color flyer.

Kids line up to build birdhouses, learn how to canoe, spin-cast for prizes at the casting pond, learn to shoot a bow and arrow, and take part in dozens of hands-on learning experiences at the many booths and displays throughout the grounds. There are also live snakes, alligators, lizards, hawks, owls and other critters to see and touch.  They can learn about wildland fires and shoot the fire hose, or take part in the kid’s birding activity to learn keys to identify birds.  There are Pontoon boat tours on the bayou, van tours to more remote refuge spots, and the “hayride shuttle” that links everything together and adds adventure to the day.

Photo of kids at Wild Things 2010
Kids having fun at Wild Things 2010

For adults, Youth Wildlife Art viewing of over 500 pieces of art from throughout the region and relaxing and enjoying live music will be some of your favorites. Every year, over 4,000 guests join us to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week at Wild Things. It’s all here every year, and it’s all free! Local food will be available for purchase to benefit the Friends of Louisiana Refuges.

Wild Things Youth Art Contest - Young Artists Wanted!

The Wild Things Youth Art Contest and Exhibition is held every year in conjunction with Wild Things.  The contest is open to youth from ages 5 to 18 in the mediums of drawing and painting. Prizes and ribbons are awarded to first, second, and third place winners and honorable mention winners receive ribbons.  The art is on exhibit throughout the festival event and winners are recognized at an informal awards ceremony. Download a rules and entry form!

Public Canoe Tours on Big Branch Marsh Refuge

Stop by our updated Calendar of Events page to learn more about public canoe trips. The link is at the top of this page, to the left.

Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges is a non-profit, membership organization that supports and advocates for the SELA Refuges. They sponsor several of the refuge annual events, obtain grants to support refuge projects, conduct fund-raising activities to support environmental education programs and help us operate and maintain the refuge facilities and programs by conducting weekend "work-play" days. We appreciate their support and encourage others to become members of the "Friends" organization.

Federal Junior Duck Stamp Competition

Best of Show - Alexandra Sauer
Alexandra Sauer, 2011 Louisiana Junior Duck Stamp Best of Show

Each year, five judges selected winners from the Louisiana entries in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp art competition. The 2013 Junior Duck Stamp competition will be held by Tensas National Wildlife Refuge.

The 2011 Louisiana Best of Show is a painting of a Green-winged teal floating in the water by Alexandra Sauer of Benton, Louisiana.  Alex’s artwork was sent to the Federal Duck Stamp Office for the national competition.  The national winning picture each year will be made into the Federal Junior Duck Stamp which sells for $5.00 and promotes wetland conservation.

The federal Junior Duck Stamp Program encourages “conservation through the arts.” Entries must depict a species of North American waterfowl in its natural habitat. Winners are selected on the accuracy of anatomy, color and habitat as well as picture composition.

Each Junior Duck Stamp participant is also encouraged to write a conservation statement. One winner in each age group is selected in the conservation statement contest.

These white swamp lillies are evidence of the recovery of the marsh from erosion damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
© Tom Carlisle

Last Updated on November 23, 2015