The Nature Conservancy Announces Completed Restoration of Mathews Brake National Wildlife Refuge

Project restores more than 3,500 wetland acres in Mississippi Delta.

Mathews Brake National Wildlife Refuge, MS | November 10, 2016

One of the largest wetland restorations in the Mississippi Delta is now complete, thanks to a partnership between local landowners, The Nature Conservancy, along with public and private partners. Over 3,500 acres of critical forested wetlands is now restored and will continue to benefit wildlife, Mississippi sportsman, and the surrounding community.

Those private partners, Entergy Mississippi, the James M. Cox Foundation, PowerTree & UtiliTree Carbon Companies, the Caterpillar Foundation, Delta Wildlife and the Walker Foundation provided funding for the $700,000 plus project.

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% due to low water conditions at the refuge.

“Mathews Brake is truly an iconic natural landmark in the Mississippi Delta, both as a critical wetland and also 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 brake will be maintained for generations to come. However, none of this would have happened without the help from everyone that played a role (supporters) and my hat is off to all of them. It’s amazing how it all came together and I can’t say enough about the partnership that made this work possible.”

“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.”

“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-tupelo dominated wetland habitat, providing habitat to over 30,000 annual wintering waterfowl and representing 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 (USFWS) to establish the Mathews Brake National Wildlife Refuge. Attracting an estimated 35,000 visitors annually, the refuge also serves as a significant economic driver for the local economy.

"The first thing I want to do is offer my thanks to an incredible partnership with The Nature Conservancy, private landowners, Entergy Mississippi, the Cox Foundation, PowerTree and UtiliTree Carbon Companies as well as the Caterpillar Foundation and the Walker Foundation," said Mike Rich, project leader for the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex. "An estimated 2,000 acres in additional waterfowl habitat will serve as a pretty good boost to the local tourism economy through additional hunting and outdoor recreational opportunities. It's a good deal for the ducks. It's a good deal for hunters. And it's a good deal for local businesses that cater to outdoor users."

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The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

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Andrew Blejwas
(617) 785-7047


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