LITTLE ROCK, AR, September 1, 2005 — Ducks Unlimited (DU) recently received $25,000 from XTO Energy to help restore 790 acres of wetlands and bottomland hardwood habitat on Frog Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Crawford County, Arkansas.
Ducks Unlimited purchased Frog Bayou WMA, located 15 miles east of Ft. Smith in the Arkansas River Valley, through partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). This area was once dominated by forested wetlands interspersed with swamps and cypress-tupelo brakes. Much of the forest was cleared and converted to agriculture, and natural flooding was reduced by 50-90 percent.
|Ducks Unlimited received $25,000 from XTO Energy to help restore wetlands on public lands in Arkansas. Pictured from left: Brian Davis, DU regional biologist; Jack McCarty, DU director of development; Nina Hutton, vice president of environment, health and safety for XTO Energy; and Vaughn O. Vennerberg II, senior executive vice president and chief of staff for XTO Energy.
Primary waterfowl species benefiting from this project include mallards, gadwall, green-winged teal, pintails, wood ducks and American wigeon. DU recently transferred ownership of this property to the AGFC, who will manage the property and provide additional public hunting opportunities.
DU and its partners will restore 790 acres of wetlands and bottomland hardwood habitat via the following methods:
- Restore 315 acres of moist-soil habitat in seven different management units through construction of earthen levees and installation of six large water control structures;
- Restore approximately 470 acres of forested wetlands through direct planting of bottomland hardwood seedlings;
- Install permanent pumps to provide timely delivery of water to wetland units.
DU’s Director of Conservation Programs in Arkansas, Craig Hilburn says XTO Energy provided the money necessary to get the program going. “It’s critical to provide flooded habitat during winter for migrating waterfowl in the Arkansas River Valley,” Hilburn said. “This project will do that in this area when it’s finished, as well as help numerous other wildlife species.”
Vaughn O. Vennerberg II is XTO Energy’s Sr. Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff. The company is Arkansas’ largest producer of natural gas, and Vennerberg is excited about being able to help fund a wetlands restoration project in Arkansas. “XTO Energy develops projects that balance consumer need for reliable and competitively priced energy with efforts to minimize the impact on the environment,” Vennerberg said. “Helping restore wetlands habitat in Arkansas illustrates our strong commitment to protecting and conserving the environment."
Longtime DU volunteer Jim Gaddy of Fayetteville has visited the area many times. "I've been on the river near the project site several times,” he said. “It's a great place to enjoy waterfowl and wildlife, and it will provide additional duck hunting opportunities for hunters in northwest Arkansas.”
XTO Energy Inc. is a domestic energy producer engaged in the acquisition, development and discovery of oil and natural gas properties in the United States. The company’s properties are concentrated in Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska, Utah and Louisiana.
The partners associated with the Frog Bayou WMA restoration project include: Ducks Unlimited, AG&FC, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, and XTO Energy. Ducks Unlimited is seeking additional partners for this wetlands restoration project in Arkansas. For more information, contact Brian Davis, Regional Biologist, at 501.955.9264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.