Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana.
D'Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge, located north of West Monroe, Louisiana, lies on the western edge of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. It was established in 1975 to protect bottomland hardwoods and provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl. Additionally the refuge provides habitat for alligators, bald eagles, the little known Rafinesque's big-eared bat and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The refuge is bisected by 13 miles of Bayou D'Arbonne, a stream in the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System, and is crisscrossed by numerous creeks, sloughs and oxbow lakes. Cypress swamps, bottomland hardwood and upland forests complete the landscape that is habitat for a diverse group of plants and animals. D'Arbonne NWR also has the national record mayhaw tree, a wetland species with fruit that makes delicious jelly. D'Arbonne is one of four refuges managed in the North Louisiana Refuges Complex. In years of normal or above rainfall, the refuge's bottomland hardwood forest is a very important overflow area for the Ouachita River basin. High water levels, which usually occur between January and May, can flood up to 87% of the refuge. The wetland forests not only provide habitat to wetland dependent wildlife, but they also reduce damage from flooding in developed areas, they filter silt and other particles from the water, they help neutralize pollutants in the water, and they provide recharge areas for aquifers (natural underground water storage areas).
D'Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge is located in Ouachita and Union Parishes on either side of Bayou D'Arbonne near its confluence with the Ouachita River. Take White's Ferry Road (Hwy 143) north out of West Monroe. This highway forms the eastern refuge boundary and there are seven access points with parking lots along the highway. The refuge complex headquarters is located approximately 7 miles north of West Monroe at the intersection of Hwy 143 and Holland's Bluff Road. Consult the brochure map for many access points.