Environmentalists say irrigation project would harm rare bird

January 22, 2006 - Posted at 1:45 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ Environmentalists again are taking their
fight to protect the habitat of the rare ivory-billed woodpecker to
court. The groups already have lost state and federal lawsuits to
stop the Grand Prairie Irrigation Project in Arkansas that
environmentalists say will threaten the home of the ivory-billed
woodpecker. The bird was believed to be extinct until it was
sighted in 2004 in Arkansas. Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers
began work last summer on the irrigation project to make sure that
farmers will have water to grow their crops since the underground
water source has been nearly depleted.

Tomorrow, a federal judge in Little Rock is scheduled to hear
oral arguments in the case filed by the National Wildlife
Federation and the Arkansas Wildlife Federation. The groups are
asking the court to temporarily stop the irrigation project while
scientists can do further analysis of the project's environmental

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)