Purpose: As recently as 2000, an obscure 4,200-acre parcel of land near Georgetown, Arkansas was considered marginal farmland because of its susceptibility to winter-spring flooding. Consequently, restoring bottomland hardwood tree species and seasonally flooded wetlands seemed most insightful. As a result, this land was enrolled in the Wetlands Reserve Program. DU and its partners recognized the enormous value of this landscape and tremendous opportunity for waterfowl. Thus, DU helped facilitate purchase of the residual rights of the property by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Following purchase of the property in 2000, NRCS and DU quickly went to work surveying and designing the soon-to-be constructed wetland complexes. DU staff invested considerable time and labor conducting topographic surveys with satellite equipment to identify subtle elevation changes on the landscape. NRCS and DU biologists and engineers used survey results to develop restoration features. DU contracted hydrological restoration at Raft Creek during summer 2001. Included was construction of over 35,000 feet of levees, 40,332 cubic yards of excavation, placement of 790 tons of rock riprap, and construction of over 480 hours of topographic enhancement. This massive restoration effort ensured water delivery and management capabilities in 3 separate units to provide critical habitats for migrating and wintering waterfowl.
In winter 2002-2003, Ducks Unlimited also reforested 506 acres of bottomland hardwood forest on Raft Creek WMA. Over 150,000-bottomland hardwood seedlings were planted. Additional restoration activities included continued development of seasonally flooded wetland units in summer 2003. Waterfowl hunting on Raft Creek WMA is permitted 4-days per week.
Location: Approx. 2 miles southwest of Georgetown, AR (White County)
Acres Impacted: 4,200 acres
Habitat Type: Moist Soil Habitat (1,482.4 acres)
Reforestation of Bottomland Hardwoods (2,717.6 acres)
Partners: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Arkansas Game and Fish
Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Timeline: Summer 2001 through Summer 2003 - 100% complete
DU Contact: Craig Hilburn
Director of Conservation Programs – Arkansas
4511 East 43 rd Street
North Little Rock, AR 72117