Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge Updated:12/2013

Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge was authorized in 1986 and officially established in 1990. The refuge is located within the city limits of New Orleans and encompasses approximately 24,000 acres. It is the largest urban National Wildlife Refuge in the United States. The refuge is one of the last remaining marsh areas adjacent to Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne.

The refuge contains a wide variety of habitat including coastal hardwoods, fresh and brackish water marshes, lagoons, canals, borrow pits, cheniers, and natural bayous. Most of the refuge is located within massive hurricane protection levees built to protect New Orleans East from storm surges and flooding. A network of pumps and flapgates provides a way of regulating water levels seasonally to encourage the summer growth of emergent plants that in turn provide waterfowl food supplies in the winter.

The American Alligator is the most common predator on the refuge that also help control the number of rodents as well as the exotic nutria. This diverse habitat supports over 340 bird species. Peak populations of 25,000 waterfowl use the wetland areas during the fall, winter and early spring months.

Bayou Sauvage records more than 50,000 visitors annually who have the opportunity to go canoeing, hiking, birdwatching, hunting, fishing, crabbing, and crawfishing. Each year the refuge hosts dozens of environmental education programs for school children and organized youth groups.

The refuge is always seeking volunteers to assist with youth programs tours, general maintenance and habitat management actions.

Recreation & Education Opportunities

  • Environmental education
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Interpretation
  • Photography
  • Wildlife observation

Management Activities
Management of Bayou Sauvage NWR is achieved through manipulation of water levels to stimulate moist soil plant production. Prescribed fire is also used to curtail encroachment of willow trees, control invasive exotic vegetation and to slow marsh succession. Some reforestation planting has taken place since hurrican Katrina but it will take decades for these trees to reach maturity. Sediment fences are used to build marshes and slow erosion along the shoreline. A wood duck nest box program is active on the refuge as well.

View or Download Fact Sheet & Map (PDF 165 KB).

Contact Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge

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Contact Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge

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

Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Orleans Parish, Louisiana