Article courtesy of The Nature Conservancy. Photos courtesy of Audra Melton.
Project Supports National Wildlife Refuge in West-Central Mississippi
One of the largest wetland restorations in the Mississippi Delta is now complete, thanks to a partnership involving The Nature Conservancy, Entergy Mississippi, local landowners and public and private partners. Their teamwork ensures that more than 3,500 acres of critical forested wetlands, a prime waterfowl destination, will continue to benefit wildlife, sportsmen and the surrounding community.
“Entergy Mississippi is committed to being a good steward of the land that we own and the wildlife and natural resources that are in our care,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “Developing solutions for the environment requires short- and long-term actions, along with commitment and follow-through, and we commend our partners for their effort in making this restoration possible.”
Haley Fisackerly (third from left), president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, joined project partners to announce the completion of the Mathews Brake National Wildlife Refuge restoration project.
Entergy Mississippi joined with other private partners — the Cox Foundation, PowerTree Carbon Company, UtiliTree Carbon Company, the Caterpillar Foundation and the Walker Foundation — to fund the $500,000-plus project in west-central Mississippi, with Entergy Mississippi awarding a grant of $200,000.
The project was deemed complete following the construction and installation of a large water control structure at Mathews Brake National Wildlife Refuge. Controlling water is key to restoring critical wetland and waterfowl habitat, which has decreased by 55 percent due to low water conditions.
“Mathews Brake is truly an iconic natural landmark in the Mississippi Delta, both as a critical wetland and as a true outdoor destination for so many across the state and the southeast,” said Alex Littlejohn, associate state director of The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi. “It is humbling to play a role in ensuring the integrity of the brake will be maintained for generations to come."
“Mathews Brake is one of Mississippi’s natural jewels,” said Scott Lemons, director of freshwater programs for The Nature Conservancy. “This project allows refuge staff to manage the brake’s wetland system for the first time in refuge history.”
Mathews Brake encompasses 3,500 acres of cypress- and tupelo-dominated wetland habitat for more than 30,000 annual wintering waterfowl. It is one of the largest remaining contiguous forested wetlands in the Lower Mississippi River Valley.
In 1980, 2,418 acres of the brake were purchased by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to establish the Mathews Brake National Wildlife Refuge. Attracting thousands of visitors annually, the refuge also serves as a significant economic driver for the local economy.