After a one year hiatus due to extensive flooding, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planted another 145,350 mixed bottomland hardwood species in St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi on 475 acres that had been cleared for soybeans. This was the second of four phases in this project. Once the land is restored to hardwood forests it will be managed for multiple-use benefits, such as habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear (endangered), the American bald eagle (threatened), the peregrine falcon (endangered), for wintering and breeding waterfowl and as a migrating, breeding and stopover site for neotropical birds. In addition, it will help restore the Lower Mississippi River Ecosystem, reduce fragmentation of the existing habitat and enhance bird watching and hunting opportunities. This project will also showcase that consumptive and non-consumptive benefits that can be provided by a properly managed bottomland forest are often greater than clearing marginal land for agricultural use.
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