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Resource Management

BLHWFThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's mission is, working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are the only agency of the U.S. Government with that primary mission.

The purpose of the Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge is to protect, enhance, and manage a valuable bottomland wetland ecosystem, along the East and West Forks of the Clarks River, for the benefit of waterfowl, neotropical migratory songbirds, forest wildlife, riverine species, and a wide array of other species associated with bottomland hardwood forest.

The refuge manages approximatly 74 acres of native grasslands to benefit white-tailed deer, turkey, quail, migratory songbirds and small mammals. More native grass fields will be established as appropriate habitat is acquired. 

Some areas of the refuge, once forested lands, were converted to agriculture and pasture decades ago. The refuge maintains many of these fields through a cooperative farming program. During drier years, soybean and corn crops are grown with good yields; however, crops planted early in the year are frequently lost to flooding. Cooperative farmers are required to use filter strips or buffers in active fields adjacent to the Clarks River or any of its tributaries.

The refuge identified farm fields that became most frequently flooded and began reforestation of these unproductive farmed wetlands in the winter of 2006. Species planted in these areas include American elm, bald cypress, bitternut hickory, shellbark hickory, northern pecan, persimmon and seven species of oaks. Other tree species are allowed to colonize the site naturally. To date, approximatly 335 acres have been reforested.

A primary purpose of the refuge is to support the goals and objectives of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Six impoundments have been created since the refuge was established to enhance wildlife management opportunities. All 6 impoundments, combined, provide approximately 214 acres of manageable habitat in the form of standing agricultural crops and wetland plants grown through active moist soil management.

Page Photo Credits — Bottomland Hardwood Forest - aeller/usfws
Last Updated: Jan 10, 2014
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