Thursday, May 8, 2014

Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge - Monroe, Louisiana


(Above): A view of the waterlilies along the edges of Black Bayou Lake.
 
From the US Fish and Wildlife Service website:

"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. 



(Above): An emerald green dragonfly perches on a blade of grass at the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, Louisiana.

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. 

 
(Above): There are many cypress trees and native wildlife call Black Bayou Lake home.

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." 


(Above): A dragonfly dips in for a drink, rainwater has collected in the base of a lily pad.


Fun Fact: 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.