Go Zero At Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge
In the Mollicy Farm Unit, the Upper Ouachita River separates two very different landscapes: A lush forest of native Northern Louisiana trees covers the west side, while on the east open farm fields unfold for acres. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
At A Glance
- Total restoration area is 26,000 acres.
- Home to the Louisiana Black Bear
- Our efforts benefit climate, water quality, wildlife habitat and local jobs.
Did You Know?
Thanks to donations from hundreds of thousands of dedicated individuals and private businesses, our Go Zero® program planted its 2 millionth tree in 2012! Half those trees are now thriving at Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge, where they are helping to restore the natural hydrology and historic floodplain of the Ouachita River. As these new trees grow, they will provide cleaner air, cleaner water and more room for the Louisiana black bear to roam.
VIDEO: Plant a Tree. Trap a ton. Go Zero.
The Ouachita River flows through Louisiana’s landscape for more than 600 miles beginning just 20 miles north of Monroe and stretching more than 42,500 acres north over the Lower Mississippi River Valley. It is the defining feature of the region and of the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1978 to preserve wetlands and homes for migratory birds. Winding through the refuge, there are large sections where the river separates two very different landscapes: on the west side, a lush forest of native northern Louisiana trees covers the land, while on the east side open farm fields unfold for acres. Until the early part of the 20th century, these fields were dense hardwood forests; in the 1960s, when food prices began to skyrocket, lush forests and waterways throughout Louisiana—including in the Upper Ouachita area—were cleared, leaving behind a drastically altered landscape of fragmented forestland.
We’re continuing to protect land and to restore forests at Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge through our Go Zero program, a voluntary carbon program that allows individuals and companies the opportunity to measure, reduce and offset their carbon footprint by planting trees. With the help of generous donors and partners, our Go Zero program is raising donations to plant native oak, pecan and hickory trees across Upper Ouachita NWR. In 2012, we hit a milestone with the planting of a total of one million trees at Upper Ouachita NWR. In 2013, we are aiming to restore another 400 acres.
- Wildlife: deer, turkey, alligator, bald eagle, threatened Louisiana black bear and 265 species of migratory birds – in particular, ducks
- Water: cleaner water for downstream communities, including Monroe and West Monroe
- Economy: tree planting job creation, decreased impacts of flooding for farmers
- Recreation: visitors can hike, fish, birdwatch, hunt, and learn about nature on many of the tracts
- Standard: Gold level under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard
- Auditor: Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)
- Conservation Partner: United States Fish and Wildlife Service
- Project Design Documents: View the project design documents.
- Forest carbon: Cannot be owned or claimed by any party as the forest matures.