Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge
Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in October 1994, and is comprised of over 18,000 acres of coastal marsh and pine forested wetlands. Of this total, the Conservation Fund has donated over 10,000 acres to the Service from Richard King Mellon Foundation funds. The purpose of the refuge is to protect some of the only Lake Pontchartrain shoreline that exists in its natural state and to provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife species, with special emphases on migratory birds and endangered species. The refuge supports over 5,000 wintering waterfowl, including mallards, gadwall and Northern Pintails. The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker nests in the refuge's pine forests. Public use opportunities include hunting, fishing, environmental education, wildlife observation, photography and interpretation.

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Recreation & Education Opportunities
  • Environmental Education
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Interpretation
  • Photography
  • Wildlife Observation
Management Activities
Coastal erosion control is performed on the refuge by planting native marsh plants at strategic locations along the lakeshore. Prescribed burning is the primary management tool being used on the Big Branch March NWR. This slows plant succession in marshes and pine savannahs. Burning is required to provide appropriate habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and to reduce the chance of uncontrollable wildfires in the future.
The refuge is open during daylight hours only except fishing and boat access is available 24 hours at the lake road boat launch and parking area. The refuge visitor center is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9am to 4pm. Information is also available at the refuge office 7:30am to 4pm Monday through Friday.

Map and Additional Information

Contact Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge

Southeast Louisiana Wildlife Refuges
61389 Hwy. 434
Lacombe, Louisiana  70445
Phone: (985) 882-2000


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana

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