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No Changes Planned For
White River NWR Access

White River National Wildlife Refuge
White River NWR - USFWS Photo?

August 2, 2005

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said today it plans no changes at this time to public use management at the White River National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Arkansas.

This announcement comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that three scientists are withdrawing a paper expressing doubt about evidence of the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Their decision to withdraw the paper is based on a sampling of sound recordings taken from White River in January, 2005 that strongly suggest the presence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers there.

These recordings are part of 17,000 hours of audio taken over the past 18 months at dozens of locations throughout the Cache and White River ecosystem. Findings from Cornell’s research will be presented at the American Ornithologists’ Union meeting later this month in Santa Barbara, California. While Cornell’s scientists and others are excited about the initial results, only 20% of the recordings have been analyzed. Indeed, Cornell scientists emphasize that they cannot be 100% certain that the sounds were made by an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The Service will continue to monitor the research activities in the area.

In April, the Department of the Interior, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The Nature Conservancy, and other partners announced the extraordinary rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker at Cache River National Wildlife Refuge.

Members of two working groups of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Recovery Team are meeting today and tomorrow in Little Rock to begin developing the bird’s recovery plan.

White River National Wildlife Refuge consists of more than 160,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest in southeastern Arkansas. It adjoins Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, where there have been multiple sightings of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. White River National Wildlife Refuge has active hunting, fishing, and environmental education programs, and maintains a visitor center opened in 2003 in St. Charles, Arkansas.


Related Links & Resources:
New Refuge Manager at White River National Wildlife Refuge
Federal Funding Package for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker
Q & A's for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker
Map of Managed Area



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