“The [U.S. Fish & Wildlife] Service is proposing this change to respond to a need for greater access to the refuge and the benefits of nature for the greater New Orleans area,” said Pon Dixson, Deputy Project Leader. “If approved, these proposed changes would add land closer to public access routes adjacent to the existing refuge boundary.”

The proposal adds 2,220 acres to the approved acquisition boundary, an area in which the Service can purchase land from willing sellers, and removes 1,331 acres that lie outside of the levee system and are susceptible to sea level rise. The purpose of this project is to remove land that is no longer available or compatible with the mission and goals of the refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System and add land to protect freshwater marshes and associated wetlands that provide valuable habitat for native species, including migratory birds. This boundary modification would also enable the refuge to expand its public use program including opportunities for fishing, wildlife observation, photography and environmental education.

The purpose of this project is to remove land that is no longer available or compatible with the mission and goals of the refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) and add land to protect freshwater marshes and associated wetlands that provide valuable habitat for native species, including migratory birds. This boundary modification would also enable the refuge to expand its public use program.

Bayou Sauvage Refuge is located within the bounds of the City and only 18 miles from the CBD. The Refeu is one of nine refuges managed as part of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex. It is the largest national wildlife refuge located in an urban area of the United States and is one of the last remaining marsh areas adjacent to the south shores of Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. The refuge consists of 22,265 acres of wetlands and is bordered on three sides by water: Lake Pontchartrain to the north, Chef Menteur Pass to the east, and Lake Borgne to the south. The western side of the refuge is bordered by the Maxent Canal and fast lands that consist of bottomland hardwood habitat. Un-leveed portions of the refuge consist of estuarine tidal marshes and shallow water.

The Service is currently seeking public input on the proposed expansion. Comments may be emailed to bayousauvage@fws.gov by June 23, 2021.