East Cove Unit National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Welcome to East Cove Unit part of Cameron Prairie NWR

Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS

Refuge Facts

  • Established: 1937.
  • Acres: 14,927.
  • Located in Cameron Parish, LA.
  • Location: the refuge is located south of Lake Charles, Louisiana along the southeast shore of Calcasieu Lake. It is accessible only by boat.

Natural History

  • The habitat is an estuarine marsh in the heart of the Cameron Creole Watershed.
  • Nineteen miles of lake shore levee and five water control structures are used to control water and salinity levels in this very productive 64,000-acre wetland.
  • Abundant fishery resources such as fish, shrimp, and crabs as well as migratory birds and alligators are found in the area.

Financial Impact of Refuge

  • Managed by Cameron Prairie NWR staff.
  • 8,000 visitors annually.
  • Current budget (see Cameron Prairie NWR).

Refuge Objectives

  • Provide the highest quality wintering waterfowl habitat possible.
  • Provide for the needs of endangered plants and animals.
  • Allow compatible public uses such as hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife observation, and photography.
  • Promote research on marsh and aquatic wildlife.

Management Tools

  • Environmental monitoring.
  • Water control structures and levees.
  • Law enforcement.
  • Partnerships.

Public Use Opportunities

  • Fishing.
  • Wildlife observation.
  • Photography.

Calendar of Events

  • February-October: Fishing, wildlife observation.


Questions and Answers

  • How do you get to the East Cove Unit?
    The East Cove Unit is only accessible by boat. The entrance is located through the Grand Bayou Boat Bay at the southeast corner of Calcasieu Lake. A map of the refuge can be obtained from the Visitor Center at Cameron Prairie NWR.
  • Is a fishing license needed to go crabbing?
    Any person using crab lines or drop nets for the purpose of taking crabs for recreational purposes is not required to purchase or possess a basic recreational fishing license. Only cotton line and drop nets up to 24” outside diameter may be used.  Floats on crab lines are prohibited.
  • What is the limit on shrimp?
    The daily shrimp limit is five gallons of heads-on shrimp per day, per vehicle or boat during the Louisiana inshore waters shrimp season.  Outside the season, when cast netting for bait, the limit is one gallon per day, per vehicle or boat.
  • Is the Grand Bayou Boat Bay open?
    That information is accessible 24 hours a day by calling the East Cove Hotline 855-532-9955. When the boat bay is closed and/or there is a Closed sign, the refuge is closed to all public use.


Last updated: September 5, 2012