Will a vast irrigation project intended to help farmers in eastern Arkansas harm the rare ivory-billed woodpecker? A federal judge heard arguments on this Monday.
On this ground, environmentalists asked U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson to temporarily stop the Grand Prairie Irrigation Project. He also ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct more environmental studies on the bird’s habitat. The judge promised to rule as soon as possible. He might too, have a telephone conference with the lawyers before making a decision.
Until kayaker and bird watcher Gene Sparling spotted the animal two years ago, the ivory-billed bird was believed to be extinct. The scientists confirmed its existence in the Cache River Wildlife Refuge near Brinkley. It was last spring; the U.S. Interior Department announced the bird’s rediscovery.