Agency Says Water Project Not a Threat for Rare Woodpecker

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a planned nearly $400 million water project on the White River will not endanger the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker.

A federal judge halted work on the Grand Prarie Irrigation projects in 2006, over concerns the work would damage the habitat of the bird.  In a July 26 letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service said the project is not likely to hurt the bird.

The Grand Prarie irrigation projects' pumping station is near DeValls Bluff, less than 20 miles from where the bird had reportedly been seen and filmed.  In 2005, the U.S. Department of Interior announced that the bird had been rediscovered in the Big Woods of eastern Arkansas after having been presumed extinct for 60 years.

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