Plan would add to national wildlife refuge in New Orleans


New Orleans, Louisiana (AP)-- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has plans to add some wetlands to a national wildlife refuge in New Orleans and is seeking public comment.

Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest urban refuges in the national system, covering 22,265 acres (9,000 hectares) near the city’s eastern tip.

A landowner has offered to sell about 2,220 acres (900 hectares) of swamps, marshes and other good wildlife habitat on the refuge’s western boundary, project manager Pon Dixson said Thursday.

The area is also close to routes into the refuge, making it easy for the public to enjoy it, he said.

It’s on the other side of the refuge from about 147 acres (60 hectares) of wetlands created a few years ago where storms had scoured marsh into open water..

To stay within the refuge’s expansion limits, the plan also calls for dropping 1,300 acres (526 hectares) of privately owned wetlands near the refuge’s southern tip from the area currently approved for possible addition.

Those largely fragmented wetlands are outside of a hurricane protection levee, and the project’s environmental impact statement said subsidence, erosion, storms, and sea level rise mean further land loss is likely to be rapid.

“We don’t want to invest taxpayer money in land that may not be there in the future,” Dixson said.

The proposed addition is inside the levee, and protected from saltwater intrusion and storm impacts, and hosts migratory birds and other native species, according to the environmental impact statement.

Bayou Sauvage is one of the last remaining marsh areas along the south shores of Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne, the agency said.

It said comments should be submitted before June 23. Comments may be emailed to or mailed to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, attention Pon Dixson, 61389 Highway 434, Lacombe, Louisiana, 70445.

Story via AP