National Wildlife Refuge
|57 South CC Camp Road
St. Charles, AR 72140
Phone Number: 870-282-8200
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White River National Wildlife Refuge
White River NWR, was established in 1935 for the protection of migratory birds. The refuge lies in the floodplain of the White River near where it meets the mighty Mississippi River. White River NWR is one of the largest remaining bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi River Valley.
Approximately two-thirds of the bird species found in Arkansas can be seen at White River NWR. Many of these are neotropical migratory songbirds that use the refuge as a stopping point on their journey to and from central and south America. Arriving in early autumn and usually peaking in late December, mallards along with gadwalls, American widgeon, and greenwing teal find their way along that highway in the sky- the Mississippi Flyway. During some years, up to 350,000 birds will winter in these flooded bottomland hardwood forests.
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Consisting of over 160,000 acres of land actively managed, White River NWR has one of the largest management programs within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The management programs consist of wildlife, forestry, public use, and facilities, yet all are interrelated.
With over 95% of the refuge covered in forest, the success of achieving most Refuge objectives hinge on the effectiveness of forested habitat management. Forest thinning is conducted on the Refuge to restore or enhance optimum conditions for the range of wildlife that naturally occur in these type habitats. Water levels are managed on some areas with levees and water control structures. Wildlife populations are monitored through various surveys throughout the year and levels are managed with public hunts. A number of Universities conduct research on the Refuge to assist in filling information gaps.
Public Use is encouraged with fishing and hunting being the most popular activities. Wildlife observation and photography are also quite popular.
Being mostly floodplain, the nearly 100 (350) miles of gravel roads and about 1,000 miles of dirt roads, numerous levees, culverts, spillways and similar facilities require innovative design and periodic maintenance for reliable and safe use. Over 200 miles of boundary lines and an untold number of signs also require periodic maintenance.