Protecting a Duck Mecca.
more than 5,000 acres of prime waterfowl habitat received long-term protection with acquisition last August of two tracts of bottomland hardwoods by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
The 4,165-acre Raft Creek tract and the 900-acre Hatchiecoon tract are part of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, an area that holds the primary winter habitat for some 40 percent--1.5 million--of the mid-continent mallard population.
Ducks Unlimited--which spearheaded the acquisition with the assistance of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Wild Turkey Federation and private donors--plans extensive habitat restoration on the tracts.
"Our main goal is to return the area to its native state," said DU's Steve Frick. "We will restore hydrology with moist soil impoundments and plant a variety of bottomland species, including oak, bald cypress and green ash."
The Raft Creek tract will be managed as a "showplace waterfowl hunting area," according to Arkansas Game and Fish. The Hatchiecoon lands will be added to the St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area.