Migratory Bird Closure Zone
In 1958, under the authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the area surrounding Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was designated as closed to the hunting or taking of migratory birds. The Migratory Bird Closure Zone surrounded the original 4,068-acre area of the refuge and covered an additional 2,732 acres along the Arkansas River and the cutoff channel. The refuge manages 441 acres of the closure zone that are outside the refuge fee title boundary.
Important Bird Area
The refuge is recognized by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area (IBA) that supports the bald eagle [Haliaeetus leucocephalus], which was federally listed as “Threatened” at the time that Holla Bend NWR was designated as an IBA. In July 2007, the bald eagle population of the lower 48 states was ruled to be “recovered” and the species was removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, alongside 23 other species considered to be “of conservation concern” at the state level. Audubon Arkansas also characterizes the refuge as an “outstanding stopover site” for migratory landbirds. Holla Bend NWR was recognized as a Global IBA in 2008 for its population of a globally threatened species, the rusty blackbird.
Hog Thief Research Natural Area
A 100-acre tract of cottonwood-dominated bottomland forest in the northeastern corner of the refuge is formally designated as a Research Natural Area (RNA). The RNA serves as an experimental control for monitoring the effects of forest management activities elsewhere on the refuge, and also provides researchers an opportunity to document natural successional changes in this habitat as it matures.
The purposes of Holla Bend NWR are identified in the legislation that authorized the acquisition of lands:
- “… particular value in carrying out the national migratory bird management program.” (Transfer of Certain Real Property for Wildlife Conservation Purposes Act, 16 U.S.C. 667b);
- “… for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.” (Migratory Bird Conservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 715d);
- “…for the development, advancement, management, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife resources…for the benefit of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in performing its activities and services.” [Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, 16 U.S.C. 742f(a)(4)]; and
- “…suitable for (1) incidental fish and wildlife-oriented recreational development, (2) the protection of natural resources, (3) the conservation of endangered species or threatened species…” (Refuge Recreation Act, 16 U.S.C. 460k – 460k-4).
In 1957, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 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 the migratory bird closure area, account for a total of 7,055 acres currently under refuge management.
Other Facilities in this Complex
A National Wildlife Refuge Complex is an administrative grouping of two or more refuges, wildlife management areas, or other refuge conservation areas that are primarily managed from a central office location. Refuges are grouped into a complexbecause they occur in a similar ecological region, such as a watershed or specific habitat type, and have a related purpose and management needs. Typically, a project leader or complex manager oversees the general management of all refuges within the complex and refuge managers are responsible for operations at specific refuges. Supporting staff, composed of administrative, law enforcement, refuge manager, biological, fire, visitor services, and maintenance professionals, are centrally located and support all refuges within the complex.