March 25, 2006 - Posted at 12:21 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ The east Arkansas habitat of the recently
rediscovered ivory-billed woodpecker would probably not still be
around if a project along the Cache River had been carried out in
the 1970s. That's the assessment of a conservationist who addressed
a conference on old-growth forests.
Doug Zollner with the Arkansas office of The Nature Conservancy
says the Army Corps of Engineers had proposed to alter the Cache
River as a flood-control measure intended to speed the flow of high
water out of the basin.
The ivory-bill was long thought to be extinct but was
rediscovered in 2004 in the bottomland swamps called the Big Woods
along the Cache River and Bayou DeView north of Brinkley.
Zollner gave a presentation at a forum today on old-growth
forests. He says that had the corps plan gone forward, the habitat
would have been altered in the Big Woods, perhaps making the area
unfit for the ivory-bill.