Refuge Opens Bayou DeView to Public Use
News Release -- May 18, 2006 --
Public use restrictions established to protect the Ivory Bill Woodpecker on the Bayou DeView arm of Cache River Refuge are being lifted, according to refuge Project Leader Dennis J. Widner.
“When the ivory bill was located on Bayou DeView, the refuge established a Managed Access Area (MAA) in which only researchers and a limited number of the public were allowed on a daily basis,” said Widner. “This was necessary so research could be conducted without public interference and to ensure that the ivory bill was protected and not subjected to human disturbance beyond historic levels in this area.”
Survey and research activities have continued on Bayou DeView without any confirmed sightings since March 14, 2005 and this was the only sighting during the 2004 winter/2005 spring search period. All other verified sightings were made during the 2003 winter/2004 spring season, which was three search seasons ago.
“The Bayou DeView area has been intensely surveyed during the past two years and any ivory bill using this area would have been verified,” said Widner. “I believe the Ivory-billed Woodpecker observed on numerous occasions three search seasons ago must have moved its home range to some other area. This is not unusual in their search for food, and historical accounts of the bird discuss the nomadic tendencies of the bird. There is no reason to continue the limitations on public use within the Managed Access Area of Cache River Refuge.”
Widner indicated the restrictions on the daily number of refuge visitors allowed into the area are immediately being lifted and the area is open to all forms of general non-commercial public use allowed throughout Cache River Refuge. The designation of this area as an MAA will remain however just in case that the ivory bill moves back into this area and steps are required to limit disturbance and facilitate research.
Popular public use activities on Cache River Refuge include hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and birding.