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National Wildlife Refuge

3858 Hwy 8 E
Parkdale, AR   71661
E-mail: felsenthal@fws.gov
Phone Number: 870-473-2869 Or 870-364-3167
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Quite a few migratory birds take advantage of the shallow water areas and mudflats found in our moist soil units. Stopping here to rest and feed before continuing their migrat
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Overflow National Wildlife Refuge

Located in southeast Arkansas in Ashley County, Overflow National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1980 to protect one of the remaining bottomland hardwood forests considered vital for maintaining mallard, wood duck, and other waterfowl populations in the Mississippi Flyway. This 13,000 acre plus wetland complex consists of seasonally flooded bottomland hardwood forests, impoundments, and croplands. During the winter, a 4,000 acre greentree reservoir is created when the bottomland hardwood forests are allowed to flood. This seasonally flooded area provides a haven for mallards, wood ducks, and other waterfowl species.

This refuge is a wetland complex within the watershed of Overflow Creek which flows southerly along the length of the refuge. On the west boundary, there are only about 100 acres of uplands found on a narrow strip along the escarpment that separates the Mississippi Delta from the Coastal Plain. The majority of the refuge is bottomland hardwood forest consisting primarily of willow and overcup oaks. Willow oaks, found here in abundance, produce small acrons that are an excellent source of food for the mallards and wood ducks that make their winter home here.

Throughout the refuge are a number of impoundments, where the water and the plants are managed to benefit wildlife living on the refuge, especially waterfowl. These areas, called moist soil units, are very important in excuring that there is enough food for the birds that spend the winter here. Natural foods provide essential nutrients for birds to survive the winter and nest successfully in the spring. These moist soil units, along with the croplands, and bottomland hardwoods forest provide a mix of habitats that support a variety of wildlife throughout the year.

Getting There . . .
Overflow Refuge headquarters is located off of Arkansas Highway 8 approximately 15 miles east of Hamburg and 5 miles west of Parkdale .

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Wildlife and Habitat

Forest wildlife species are those common to bottomland hardwood systems throughout the Mississippi River Valley. There is a small black bear population with documented reproduction. Feral hog populations vary with food availability and are always sought after by hunters who generally keep the numbers down to tolerable levels. Bald eagles have successfully nested on a remote section of Overflow Creek for the past five years. The most interesting facet of the refuge's wildlife is the ever changing population of migratory birds. Spectacular numbers of waterfowl occur in late winter with mallards and green-winged teal making up the bulk of the species composition. Conversely, in mid to late summer the flooded moist soil units provide habitat for a vast array of species which sometimes include wood storks, fulvous whistling ducks and roseate spoonbills.

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Overflow National Wildlife Refuge was established November 6, 1980, to protect one of the last remaining bottomland hardwood tracts of significant size in Southeast Arkansas. Being situated in the Lower Mississippi River Delta, the refuge area has always has been important habitat for wintering waterfowl, wading birds, neotropical migrant songbirds, wintering landbirds, and a host of resident wildlife. The refuge is located in south Ashley County approximately 5 miles west of Wilmot and consists of 13,000 acres within the approved 18,700 acre project acquisition area.

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Management Activities
Management activities within the refuge are conducted to enhance habitat productivity, maintain the natural qualities of the area, and provide optimum habitat for wildlife. Carefully timed flooded of the hardwood forest, commonly referred to as green-tree reservoir management, provides excellent habitat for wintering waterfowl.

Two centuries ago, the Lower Mississippi River Valley contained over 24 million acres of bottomland hardwood and swamp forests. Today, only about 4 million acres of wetland forest remain, most as islands in a sea of agriculture.

In order to relink some of these fragmented areas and improve habitat, the refuge is reforesting some areas. Many agricultural fields on the refuge are being planted with the hardwood trees that once grew here. This reforestation effort is part of a larger effort taking place throughout the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The variety of native trees planted here at Overflow National Wildlife Refuge will enhance wildlife diversity and habitat.