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Halowell Rest Area renovation the first of many planned improvements for Arkansas waterfowl habitat

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STUTTGART –Thanks to a partnership among the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Ducks Unlimited and private partners, Halowell Rest Area on Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area will be the first of many improvements to waterfowl-oriented WMAs in Arkansas.

Rich Johnson, AGFC wetlands program coordinator, said, “This project is one of the first to improve and upgrade the infrastructure on many WMAs which will allow us to improve habitat management efficiency. By improving efficiency, we can reduce cost and improve habitat quality.”

According to Johnson, the current structure of Halowell Rest Area is expensive to manage and is flooded by backing water in from the flooded timber on Bayou Meto or using two groundwater wells. The improvement will subdivide the existing units of the rest area to produce four smaller units for moist-soil plants and a reservoir to store water needed to irrigate and manage them.

“The smaller units are more manageable,” said Johnson. “That, coupled with water on-demand, should allow us to more efficiently and effectively manage for moist-soil plants.

“The renovation will let us flood the units with the stored water using gravity. We can then use two portable water pumps to move the water back to the reservoir.”

The construction on Halowell will be complete before duck season begins Nov. 22, but the work may delay flooding of the rest area. Another rest area on Bayou Meto, the Wrape Plantation, is scheduled for renovation next year.

Channel restoration at Galla Creek WMA also was completed this year. Although the greentree reservoir on the area will not be intentionally flooded this year, high water may flood the area to provide duck-hunting opportunities.

Article courtesy of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission weekly E-Newsletter 10/22/08.

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