Breton National Wildlife Refuge Updated:11/2013

The Breton National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1904 and is the second oldest refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The refuge is comprised of a series of barrier islands including Breton Island and all of the Chandeleur Islands in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. It was formed from the remnants of the Mississippi River's former St.Bernard Delta, which was active 2000 years ago. The barrier islands' size and shapes constantly are altered by tropical storms, wind, and tidal action. In 1975, the refuge was established as a National Wilderness Area. And in 1990, an agreement with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorizing the service management rights and law enforcement authority on additional State of Louisiana owned lands. The agreement increased the refuge by an additional 11,350 acres for a total of 18,273 acres. Today,due to storms and hurricanes the islands comprise only a few thousand acres.

The objectives for the refuge are to provide sanctuary for nesting and wintering seabirds, protect and preserve the wilderness character of the islands, and provide sandy beach habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Twenty-three species of seabirds and shorebirds frequently use the refuge, and thirteen species nest on the various islands. The most abundant nesters are brown pelicans, laughing gulls, and royal, caspian, and sandwich terns. The refuge provides important wintering habitat for the endangered piping plover. Over ten thousand brown pelicans have been recorded nesting on the refuge. Waterfowl winter near the refuge islands and benefit from adjacent shallows, marshes, and sounds for feeding and protection during inclement weather. Redheads and lesser scaup account for most waterfowl numbers.

View or Download Refuge Brochure with Map (PDF 1MB).

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Office Hours & Fees

7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday. There are no entrance fees for this refuge.

Contact Breton National Wildlife Refuge

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Breton National Wildlife Refuge is not employed by or affiliated with the Louisiana Land Conservation Assistance Network, and the Network does not certify or guarantee their services. The reader must perform their own due diligence and use their own judgment in the selection of any professional.


Contact Breton National Wildlife Refuge

Southeast Louisiana Wildlife Refuges
61389 Hwy. 434
Lacombe, LA  70445
Phone: 985-882-2000
Fax: 985-882-9133

Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana