Corps Continues White River Work in Woodpecker's Habitat

JANUARY 25, 2007 - Posted at 1:50 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Army Corps of Engineers says it is continuing with the assembly of pumps and motors for a planned $320 million irrigation project, even though a federal judge has blocked on-site work along the White River where the ivory-billed woodpecker was reportedly re-discovered.

Last July, U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson, Jr. issued an injunction that forbade work on the actual pumping station until further environmental study is done.  The station is less than 20 miles from the Big Woods area, where researchers claim to have spotted the bird that was once thought to be extinct.

The Corps says pumps being built in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are 90 percent complete and motors being built in Sugar Land, Texas, are 40 percent complete.

The judge's July order halted all work on the project.  A revision in September allowed off-site work assembling the pumps and motors to resume.

The Corps says it will store the completed pumps and motors until it can use them.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)