U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE AWARDS THREE
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
award winners on the banks of the White River in Arkansas.
Left to Right, Dennis Widner, Manager of Cache River Refuge;
Larry Mallard, Manager of White River Refuge; and Allan Mueller,
Conway Ecological Services Field Office Supervisor. Photo
by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently recognized
three of its wildlife professionals in Arkansas with Star awards
for outstanding conservation achievements in the White River basin.
Larry Mallard, Refuge Manager of the White River National Wildlife
Refuge, Allan Mueller, Supervisor of the Conway Ecological Services
office, and Dennis Widner, Refuge Manager of the Cache River National
Wildlife Refuge, each received a Star award for their outstanding
All three Service employees were also recently recognized
as Wildlife Conservationists of the Year by the Arkansas Wildlife
Arkansas currently faces several key water and natural
resource decisions that will impact the future of fish and wildlife.
"These three Fish and Wildlife Service professionals
are exceptional employees who really know the fish and wildlife
resources of Arkansas," said Sam D. Hamilton, Regional Director
of the Fish and Wildlife Service in Atlanta, Georgia. "Their professional
dedication and sound biological judgement have provided the public
with an outstanding service. They have done an excellent job of
conserving the habitat so important to the hunting and fishing public,"
The Cache and White River basins provide two of the
nation's premier wetland sites for migratory and wintering waterfowl.
This area of Arkansas is continually ranked as the most outstanding
hunting spot for mallards in the United States. Waterfowl hunting
in Arkansas contributes $2 million to the local economy for each
day of the hunting season. The extensive bottomland hardwood forests
and other wetlands in this area also provide valuable habitat for
song birds, a wide variety of water birds, and black bears.
Surveys by migratory bird experts forecast increasing
numbers of mallards and gadwalls this fall. Individual duck hunting
success will, as usual, depend on local water and weather conditions.
Mallard ducks have shown an increase of 15 percent above last year's
numbers to bring their estimated population to over 11 million.
It is the first time the mallard population has exceeded the 10
million mark in more than 40 years. The Service's annual breeding
duck survey showed the highest number of adult breeding ducks since
the survey began in 1955. The dedicated work of people, such as
these three award recipients, to conserve and protect wildlife habitats
in the White River and Cache River basins, have benefitted all species
of migratory birds. Many hundreds of thousands of wood ducks utilize
the bottomland forests year-round for nesting and raising young.
The Fish and Wildlife Services' refuges are available for viewing
and hunting opportunities, and they provide a mix of forested wetlands,
natural sloughs, and managed impounded areas for shorebirds, wading
birds, forest land birds, and waterfowl. The wetland functions of
these basins are important for numerous plant and animal species.
- In 1988, commercial fishing contributed about $3.3-million to the
Between 1994-1997, commercial mussel harvests from
the White River had an annual value ranging from $7,000 to $385,000
for their shells.
- Non-resident freshwater fishermen spend an average of $45 per day,
and resident freshwater fishermen spend an average of $11 per day.
- In the lower Cache River and lower White River region, many non-resident
hunters are guided. Guide fees range from $150-$300 per day.
- The White River and Cache River National Wildlife Refuges received
a combined total of 280,000 annual visitors. These visitors to the
refuges participate in activities that include hunting, fishing, birding,
and other outdoor recreational activities.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife
and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands
of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates
66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance
offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces
Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages
migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries,
conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps
foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees
the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars
in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies.
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Release #: R99-080