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System of Natural Areas Surpasses 70,000-acre milestone

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Friday, December 18, 2020

The ANHC closed on the acquisition of a 636.3-acre tract that is an addition to Warren Prairie Natural Area (NA) in southern Arkansas. Total cost was $1,240,000 with $930,000 paid for with a U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Forest Legacy grant and the remainder from Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) grant funds. This brings the total acres under the ANHC System of Natural Areas to 70,548.81 acres.

Warren Prairie, located in Bradley and Drew counties, consists of a mosaic of salt slick barrens, saline soil barrens, prairie mound woodlands, pine woodlands, and bottomland hardwood forest communities. The saline soil habitats support the state’s largest population of the federally threatened plant Geocarpon (Geocarpon minimum) as well as the state’s largest wintering population of Henslow’s sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii), a grassland species that has declined dramatically due to loss of habitat. The area also supports a small population of the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (Dryobates borealis).

The acquisition increases the total amount protected by the ANHC and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) at Warren Prairie NA to 6,221.85 acres. The ANHC is the majority owner with 5,576.6 acres of fee title and 605.25 acres of conservation easements (TNC owns fee title on those tracts plus an additional 40 acres outright). The Arkansas Forestry Division, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, ANCRC, Arkansas State Parks, TNC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USFS, and the U.S. Department of Interior (Land and Water Conservation Fund) have all been important partners with the ANHC in acquisition efforts on this project. They, and the Arkansas State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, have been and continue to be important partners in habitat restoration at this site. This project highlights what great things partners with different interests can accomplish when they work together.

 

 

Photos:

Top — Warren Prairie Natural Area in Bradley and Drew counties.

Bottom — The saline soil habitats at Warren Prairie Natural Area support the state's largest population of the federally threatened plant Geocarpon (Geocarpon minimum).



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