Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area
Maurepas National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Sean Gardner
Did You Know?
- Louisiana contains almost half of the wetlands found in America’s lower 48 states.
- Louisiana loses wetlands at a rate equal to the size of a football field every hour!
“Our ultimate goal is to protect and enhance the connectivity of this quintessential South Louisiana coastal wetland environment across a large landscape. To date the Fund has conserved approximately 160,000 acres across the Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain Basin, much of which connects the Joyce, Manchac and Maurepas Swamp WMAs."
— Ray Herndon, Director, Lower Mississippi Region, The Conservation Fund
About 25 miles outside New Orleans, cypress and tupelo trees tower over a classic southern swamp, where herons cast lanky shadows, alligators slink beneath greenish surface waters, and boaters take it all in. This is Maurepas Swamp—a place that is at once mysterious and critically practical.
Maurepas Swamp acts as a buffer for New Orleans, regularly absorbing heavy rains that might otherwise become floodwaters lashing at the city’s feet. Coastal wetlands like these have become all too rare, as trees have been harvested and waters drained to make way for development.
From The Start: Our Efforts
To save this special place, we helped the state of Louisiana establish the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in 2000, thanks to a donation from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. Since then, we have expanded the WMA by more than 104,000 acres, partnering with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and drawing upon support from the state, the Entergy Charitable Foundation and a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant.
Today, our commitment to help protect and restore Louisiana’s coastal wetlands continues. In 2012, with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, we acquired nearly 400 acres at Maurepas Swamp, donating the land to the state. We also helped preserve the largest contiguous tract of wetland forest remaining in the lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley. With the purchase of 30,000 acres from the Fund, LDWF was able to link the eastern and western sections of the Maurepas Swamp WMA to create nearly 104,000 acres of public outdoor recreation property. The acreage will remain undeveloped and continue to provide inland coastal protection to adjacent communities.