State Wildlife Refuge

 

Acreage: 13,000 Acres
Owned: State of Louisiana
Parish: Vermilion Parish
Office: New Iberia
2415 Darnall Road
New Iberia, LA 70506
Phone: (337) 373-0032
Email: clejeune@wlf.la.gov

State Wildlife Refuge, owned and maintained by the state of Louisiana, is a 13,000-acre tract of marshland located on the southwestern shore of Vermilion Bay. It is located approximately six miles southeast of Intracoastal City, LA and is bordered by the Audubon/Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary to the west and the Marsh Island Wildlife Refuge to the east.

The refuge was donated to the state in 1911 by Mr. Edward McIlhenny and Mr. Charles Ward for use by the public. Natural resource conservation has been the primary management objective since the inception of the refuge. Instrumental aspects of the management plan included the trapping of over-abundant marsh rodents and controlled burning. Additionally, fixed-crest weirs have been used as a technique to deter highly saline waters from entering the marshes and prevent total retreat of water at low tides.

State Wildlife Refuge is an important waterfowl wintering area. Marsh management techniques (controlled marsh burning, water level management, etc.) provide prime waterfowl habitat in the form of enhanced food sources and habitat conditions. A multitude of waterfowl species utilize the refuge due to the enhanced habitat as well as for a refuge area due to hunting pressure in the adjacent marshes and neighboring rice fields.

In addition to wintering waterfowl, a multitude of other wildlife species utilize the area, including many other avian species such as shorebirds, wading birds, colonial seabirds and neotropical migrants . Alligators as well as many marine species such as shrimp, redfish, spotted seatrout and blue crabs are common. Mammals such as raccoons, muskrats, nutria, mink, and white-tailed deer are also present in good numbers. Marsh damage from over-grazing by herbivores, such as Muskrat and geese, (also known as ?eat-outs") has been a moderate problem at the refuge.

Management is provided by Fur and Refuge Division biologists and wildlife technicians stationed at the LDWF New Iberia office and the Marsh Island Refuge. Additionally, the LDWF Enforcement Division has an active presence at the refuge. The rules and regulations of the area can be obtained from the LDWF New Iberia office at 337-373-0032.

Although no hunting is allowed on the refuge, opportunities for recreational activities such as fishing, shrimping, and bird-watching abound. Approximately 13,000 visitors per year take advantage of these opportunities.