Red River National Wildlife Refuge Celebrates Budding Forest And Return Of Migratory Songbirds
April 8, 2014
Seedlings being planted at Red River NWR. Photo by Neil Johnson.
BHP Billiton Grant Helps The Conservation Fund and USFWS Restore 40 Acres with 18,000 Trees
Bossier City, La.—With a grant from BHP Billiton, The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) planted 18,000 seedlings across 40 acres at Red River National Wildlife Refuge near Bossier City. The newly restored hardwood forest will provide long-term benefits to wildlife, water and air quality and public recreation opportunities.
To learn more about the importance of forests and wetlands to birds and other wildlife, members of the community are invited to join refuge staff at the “Celebrating the Return of Migratory Songbirds” event on April 12, 2014 at the refuge’s Visitor Center at 150 Eagle Bend Point, Bossier City from 8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
A century ago, bottomland hardwood forest covered nearly 30 million acres along the Red River and the lower Mississippi River valley. But after decades of conversion from forest to farmland, and myriad flood control measures that followed, less than five million acres remain today. Habitat loss is more pronounced here than in any other area of the United States.
“No other wetland system in North America has suffered such a tremendous reduction in area,” said Pat Stinson, refuge manager at Red River National Wildlife Refuge. “But with this contribution from BHP Billiton, and continued support from The Conservation Fund, we can take small steps to restore these lands for people and wildlife. We can attract migratory birds looking for a stopover point and waterfowl and wading birds seeking wintering grounds.”
Since 2000, The Conservation Fund and USFWS have been working together to restore the cypress, oak and hickory forests that once blanketed the area and supported abundant populations of fish, birds and other wildlife. Using a mix of private and public financing, the Fund and USFWS have protected and reforested 26,000 acres and planted 10 million trees at National Wildlife Refuges across the Southeast, including 370,000 trees at Red River National Wildlife Refuge.
“The Red River valley has long been a high priority for conservation; and with donations from individuals, foundations and companies like BHP Billiton, we’re making significant progress,” said Ray Herndon, director of The Conservation Fund’s lower Mississippi River region. “We remain committed to restoring one of Louisiana’s greatest natural legacies for wildlife and people alike.”
Located just south of Bossier City along the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway, the growing forestland provides opportunities for public recreation, including hiking, photography and wildlife viewing. BHP Billiton will also help create an interpretive sign on site for visitors.
About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.
About U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Stacy Shelton | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | 404-679-7290 | email@example.com