About the Refuge

about the refuge Kiosk Header Photo

Holla Bend NWR is located in Pope and Yell Counties, along the Arkansas River, five miles downstream from the city of Dardanelle, Arkansas. The refuge is bounded by an old oxbow that was created in the early 1950s, when the Army Corps of Engineers cut a channel through the bend in the river to promote navigation and flood control. In 1957 the Corps transferred 4,068 acres to the Fish and Wildlife Service, but retained a permanent flood easement for these acres. In 1985, a court action based on the Thalweg Law accreted an additional 1,526 acres for the refuge. Other acquisitions totaling 589 acres, plus 441 acres included in a migratory bird closure area, account for a total of 7,055 acres currently under refuge management.

about the refuge Nature Trail Steve Twaddle 250 W

In the early 1900’s, more than 65 families resided in the area and farmed the rich bottomland soil. A disastrous flood inundated the Holla Bend area in 1927; that event and subsequent floods deposited up to four feet of sand over the land forcing farmers to go elsewhere to pursue their livelihood. By the time the land was given to the Fish and Wildlife Service, the entire area was grown up in scrub timber. Farming acreage was cleared and soil conservation measures were undertaken; however, the soils remain very sandy and drought-prone. Cropland manipulation, moist-soil management, reforestation, and grassland management are currently the major activities conducted to benefit various wildlife species.

The refuge has the following management objectives: (1) provide habitats for wintering waterfowl; (2) provide habitats for endangered and threatened species; (3) provide habitat for resident wildlife species and (4) provide interpretation and recreation to the public.