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Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge

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Lower Hatchie NWR (profile)Lower Hatchie NWR
MAVLauderdale Co.Tipton Co.

Note: The Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge is part of the IBA site, Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Tennessee.

Location:  Along the lower 17 miles of the Hatchie River, to include the Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge, in the counties of Lauderdale and Tipton, Tennessee.
Physiographic Province:  PIF 05 (Mississippi Alluvial Valley); BCR 26 (Mississippi Alluvial Valley)
Tennessee IBA Site Map - Lower Hatchie NWR.bmp (80006 bytes)
Geographical Coordinates: 
    Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge--353600N  Long. 0895100W
Elevation Range:
    230' Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge
Size: 9,451 acres
USGS 7.5' quad:  Gilt Edge

Description:  The refuge, established in 1980 to benefit migratory birds with special emphasis on wintering waterfowl, lies along the lower 17 miles of the Hatchie Scenic River. This tributary to the Mississippi River, unlike most, has not been straightened or had levees constructed and remains the longest continuous stretch of naturally meandering river in the lower Mississippi River Valley. The Hatchie River bisects the refuge and enters the Mississippi River at the westernmost point of the refuge. Because of this, the majority of the refuge lies within the floodplains here of the Hatchie River and the Mississippi River and protects significant stands of bottomland hardwood forests. Habitat acreage includes bottomland hardwood forest (5,852 acres), cropland (750 acres), lakes and open water (119 acres), upland forest (388 acres), grassland (89 acres), marshlands (887 acres), and reforested bottomland and upland areas (1,300 acres). There are eight miles of gravel refuge access roads and also logging trails for hiking.
    Refuge objectives include to protect, enhance, and manage habitat for migratory birds and endangered species, and to maintain and enhance bottomland hardwood forests. A network of levees and water control structures manage the impoundments. Moist-soil management is used to create and maintain shorebird and waterfowl habitat. Cooperative farming management is used to supply food for wintering waterfowl. There are 1,256 acres of cropland/moist soil on rotation. "More than 7,500 acres of forested habitats, including cypress/tupelo swamps, bottomland hardwoods, and upland hardwoods are managed through timber stand improvements and reforestation..."

IBA Criteria:  4a, 4d

Ornithological Importance:  Mississippi Kite, a Tennessee In Need of Management species, uses the refuge regularly. High numbers include--May 28, 2003 (65). Wood Stork: September 6, 2003 (40-50).
    Note 1.  The 5-year waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans) average from the "Tennessee Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey," 2001-2005, is 14,109 birds (3% of the statewide wintering total). The total annual number during that survey period is variable with 16,343 (2001), 17,108 (2002), 9,672 (2003), 4,650 (2004), and 22,774 (2005). Mallard is the most common species with a 5-year average of 11,323 birds (4% of the statewide wintering total). The next most common duck is Gadwall with 1,712 individuals (4% of the statewide wintering total). Canada Goose in the 5-year period during the "Tennessee Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey" occurred once with 8,000 geese in 2001. Blue-winged Teal can sometimes be numerous in migration. Example is--April 19, 2004 (100). Pied-billed Grebe regularly breeds. Nests--May 28, 2003 (1 pair building; adult with 3 young); April 2, 2005 (3 nests).
    Note 2. Shorebirds occur in the hundreds. Numbers include: Greater Yellowlegs--April 19, 2004 (100); March 20, 2005 (91); April 2, 2005 (96); Lesser Yellowlegs--April 13, 2004 (3,100) combined with Chickasaw NWR; Pectoral Sandpiper--March 20, 2005 (384); and Wilson's Snipe--March 20, 2005 (51).

Site Criteria



Avg. No Season

Max. No. Season

Years of Data



Waterfowl (See Note 1 above.)


4dShorebirds (See Note 2 above.)SM, FM  2004-20057
Season1   B = Breeding, W = Wintering, SM = Spring Migration, FM = Fall Migration 
Source 2  1-Atlas Breeding Birds of Tennessee 2-Breeding Bird Surveys 3-Christmas Bird Counts
4-Point Counts 5-Refuge Counts 6-Personal observations 7-Other (Tennessee Birding Freelists)

Ownership:  U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service
   Contact:  Refuge Manager, Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge, 234 Fort Prudhomme Drive, Henning, TN 38041, 731-738-2296 (refuge), 731-287-0650 (administration office), 731-286-0468 (fax), lowerhatchie@fws.gov 

Conservation Concerns:

Management Program:  None.

Submitted by:

Additional Contributors:  

Approved under the umbrella IBA site Mississippi Alluvial Valley:  February 2006--Yes 7  No 0

This page was last updated on 02/19/06.