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May 14, 2011 1:13 PM by Press Release

Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge Closed

Effective May 14, 2011, Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge is closed to all public entry and use. The closure is made necessary due to expected high water with the opening of the Morganza Floodway on the Mississippi River. The Refuge will remain closed until further notice.

The Morganza Floodway opening, directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, diverts Mississippi River water into the Atchafalaya River and Basin, and is expected to flood significant areas of the Refuge and adjoining lands. The diversion reduces flows on the lower Mississippi River during extreme high water years. The last time the Floodway was utilized was in 1973, prior to the establishment of the Refuge in 1986.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world's premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. Since President Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida's Pelican Island as the first wildlife refuge in 1903, the System has grown to more than 150 million acres, 552 national wildlife refuges and other units of the Refuge System, plus 37 wetland management districts.

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