- D'Arbonne NWR was established on May 19, 1975 as an enhancement project for the U.S. Corps of Engineers Ouachita/Black Rivers' Navigation project. The refuge lies on the Western edge of the 75 mile-wide Mississippi Alluvial Plain.
The central physical feature is the Bayou D'Arbonne. The bayou meanders through a floodplain characterized by alluvial soils deposited during the last several thousand years. It's elevation ranges from approximately 49 feet MSL to 70 feet MSL. surrounding bluffs and hills rise to elevations as high as 170 feet MSL.
The permanent water area on the refuge includes oxbow lakes, side channels of Bayou D'Arbonne and that part of the bottomland flooded on a year-round basis. This flooding results from backwater from the Columbia Lock and Dam on the Ouachita River, which is maintained by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Levels exceeding their minimum are normally the result of precipitation in the upper Ouachita River basin. High water levels which may inundate up to 87% of the refuge normally occur January through May but may be found at other times of the year depending on rainfall. This prevalent and dramatic change in water level imposes quite a challenge to refuge management activities.
The complex variety of environments on D'Arbonne NWR provide excellent habitat for a diversity of migratory birds and resident wildlife species -- the purpose for establishment of the refuge. Other objectives include: preserve bottomland hardwoods and provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl; provide habitat and protection for threatened/endangered species (red-cockaded woodpecker, bald eagle, and alligator); provide opportunities for environmental education, interpretation, and wildlife-oriented recreation.
The Refuge is located in Northeast LA approximately 23 miles south of the Arkansas border and 2.5 miles north of West Monroe, LA.