Queen Bess Island Wildlife Refuge
Queen Bess Island, located near Grand Isle, holds historical significance for Louisiana’s state bird, the brown pelican. Pelicans ceased nesting in Louisiana in 1961 and by 1963 had virtually disappeared from Louisiana’s coastal wetlands primarily because of the now-banned pesticide DDT. In 1968, LDWF began a project to restore the species. From 1968 through 1976, brown pelican chicks were captured from Florida and relocated to coastal Louisiana, including Queen Bess Island. In 1971, 11 nests were documented on the tiny island, marking the first successful recolonization of brown pelicans in Louisiana.
In 2019, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a resolution that converted Queen Bess Island to a Louisiana state wildlife refuge to enhance protection of the island, a vital waterbird colony that annually produces more than 4,400 nests. It is the fourth largest brown pelican rookery in Louisiana, producing 15 to 20% of the state’s nesting activity. It also provides nesting habitat for about 10 species of nesting colonial waterbirds, such as tri-colored herons, great egrets, and royal terns.
In February 2020, LDWF and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority completed a project to restore the islands available nesting habitat from 5 to 37 acres.
You can access Queen Bess Refuge by boat from Grand Isle, Louisiana.
- Hunting on the island is prohibited.
- Access is prohibited from February 1 through September 30.
- No disturbance or removal of vegetation or natural debris from the island is allowed.
- No fishing between the breakwaters and the island from February 1 through September 30.
- Vehicles are prohibited,
- No nighttime activities.