Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana.
Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1997 through a unique partnership with the city of Monroe, Louisiana. The 2,000 acre scenic lake is owned by the city and serves as its secondary water source. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a free ninety-nine year management lease on the lake. The Service purchased 2,200 acres of land surrounding the lake, which expanded the refuge to 4,200 acres and protected most of the lake's watershed. The beautiful natural lake is studded with picturesque cypress and tupelo trees, and surrounded by swamps that graduate into bottomland hardwoods and then into upland mixed pine/hardwoods. The refuge supports an excellent fisheries resource and provides valuable habitat for migratory waterfowl, neotropical migratory songbirds, and many resident wildlife species.
This semi-urban refuge is ideally located to provide a place for people to connect with the natural world. It is one of four refuges managed in the North Louisiana Refuges Complex. The complex visitor center, a restored planter's house, is situated on the 40 acre Black Bayou Lake Environmental Education Center. Adjacent to the visitor center are an arboretum with over 100 native Louisiana woody plants and a prairie demonstration area with native grasses and wildflowers. Facilities also include interactive visitor center exhibits, a mile long raised asphalt/boardwalk nature trail with 400 foot wildlife pier, boat launch, amphitheater and pavilion, a raised observation deck with spotting scope and several informational kiosks.
Members of Friends of Black Bayou, Inc., a refuge support group, provide thousands of hours of services for the refuge.
Black Bayou Lake NWR is located just north of Monroe, Louisiana off U.S. Hwy 165. Approximately 1.3 miles north of the CenturyTel corporate headquarters turn east on Richland Drive. Cross
Bayou DeSiard and the railroad tracks. The visitor center is on the right side of the road. Follow refuge signs to other facilities. Brochure maps, available at the visitor center, will show other access points