Woodpecker Frenzy Continues as Game & Fish Commission Gets New Post for Rare Bird

JUNE 14, 2005 - Posted at 5:45 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission got legislative approval today to use money to create a new position to help coordinate federal funding earmarked for protecting the redisovered ivory-billed woodpecker.

The personnel committee of the Legislative Council approved the agency's request to spend money already in its budget for a salary of up to $77,000 per year for a new deputy director for governmental affairs.

Federal officials announced this spring that the rare bird, thought to be extinct since 1944, had been spotted in the Big Woods area of eastern Arkansas.  The federal government has already pledged $10 million for the bird's preservation.

The new deputy director also will help direct the flow of other funds, including about $1 million more annually for sport fish restoration and another $1 million from wildlife grants for bolstering non-game species.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)