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Partnership Benefits Two Agencies: Restoration of Prairies and Glades for Fish and Anglers

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) are partnering on a project that will aid in prairie and glade restoration efforts on state natural areas, while also providing fish habitat improvement. The common thread in all of this is the eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana) tree.

Cedar is an aggressive invasive species on prairies and glades, and in the absence of fire, can completely take over an area in a very short amount of time (a decade or less). Once cedar becomes established, the trees grow densely together and rob native plants of important sunlight. The restoration of prairies, glades, and their adjacent woodlands is beneficial for pollinator species such as bees and butterflies, and numerous birds, including northern bobwhite quail, painted buntings, and short-eared owls.

Through this newly formed partnership, the AGFC will utilize cedars cut from natural areas for fish habitat on local lakes. When sunk, cedars provide exceptional cover for a variety of bait fish and attract popular sport fish such as crappie, bass, and catfish. All of this combined is good for prairies, glades, fish, and anglers.


Photos:

Top right -- Boy fishing; Top left -- cedars being sunk for fish habitat in Beaver Lake adjacent to Devil's Eyebrow Natural Area; Bottom left -- restored prairie plants growing below area previously inhabited by eastern red-cedar trees at Terre Noire Natural Area



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