Monthly Archives: December 2016

Protecting Birds – By Jenny Holt

How to Help Protect Bird Species in Arkansas

Freelance writer Jenny Holt has provided these thoughtful tips for how to promote bird conservation in Northwest Arkansas. The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust works to protect birds and their habitats in the region, and we appreciate Jenny for sharing this information with us!

Arkansas boasts of 550,000 acres of hardwood forest making the area the perfect home for several species of birds. It boasts of over 300 sightings of bird species including Sabine’s Gull and Parasitic Jaeger. In addition, it is the perfect pit-stop for migratory birds on their way to nest or escape harsh winters to places or countries with milder climates.

Declining Species

The red-cockaded woodpecker is an endangered species that can be found in old-growth pine forests in southeastern Arkansas

The state is not only an important home and stopover for migratory birds, it also boasts of ongoing conservation efforts. At present, there are several species of wildlife that are endangered including birds. Affected bird species that are on the decline are the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker and Interior Least Tern.

Causes of Dwindling Bird Populations

There are many causes of birth deaths including lost or degraded habitats due to agriculture and land development as well as natural causes. Another source of bird morbidity is collisions with man-made structures such as buildings, poles or windows. Sadly, there are nearly a billion bird deaths in the US associated with glass collisions endangering migratory species and reducing local populations.

What You Can Do to Help

Everyone can pitch in to help birds sustain their numbers. If you are a homeowner, you can create habitat by planting native trees, bushes and flowers. Erect bird baths and birdhouses as well as bird and nectar feeders. To reduce glass collisions, make sure your windows are visible to birds by putting a screen, installing UV decals, hanging curtains and drawing shutters.  Bird tapes are also effective in making windows visible as well as drawing on the glass with tempera markers.

At nighttime, draw curtains or turn off the lights. You can also volunteer at bird conservation groups such as Audubon Arkansas or Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society to help monitor species or assist in caring for injured birds.

Volunteers support bluebird populations at Wilson Springs Preserve in Fayetteville

Education of your kids and family members begins at home. You can never stress enough the importance of the value of wildlife and birds. They help balance the ecosystems, pollinate plants, scatter seeds and nourish our spirits.

Another place where you can offer your free time is through land trusts that are mandated to preserve and protect lands, forests, mountains as well as wildlife habitat. The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust offers several opportunities to get involved with bird conservation. You can also advocate for land conservation and wildlife protection as well as contribute to nature programs.

At the office, switch off lights and close blinds. Studies show that birds are attracted by lights which result to deadly collisions and crashes. In short, there are many ways to get involved as a citizen for bird protection.



Jenny Holt  is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it all and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, and taking some time to enjoy nature, as well as writing about saving it, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind.

Land Trust Staff Survey Groundwater Resources on Kessler Mountain

Groundwater Survey to Evaluate Water Quality Impact of Kessler Mountain Reserve

With support from the Beaver Watershed Alliance, land trust staff have initiated a groundwater resource survey on the Beaver Lake Watershed portion of the 386-acre Kessler Mountain Reserve, Fayetteville’s newest public natural recreation area. As part of the survey, we are taking an inventory of the springs and seeps on the mountain to better understand the groundwater resources on the reserve, an important component of watershed protection for this region’s drinking water source.

Forested lands like Kessler Mountain are important areas for recharging groundwater, a vital component of a healthy watershed. As precipitation falls on the land, some of that water percolates underground, into the water table below.  Through this process, the flow of runoff is slowed and sediment is filtered, helping to clean the water. When land is cleared or developed with impervious surfaces such as rooftops and parking lots, however, water is unable to filter into the soil and surface runoff is increased, leading to erosion and pollution of our waterways.

The Ozark zigzag salamander, Plethodon angusticlavius, is a species of special concern that has been documented in groundwater sources on Kessler Mountain

The springs and seeps that land trust staff have found are important indicators of groundwater quality.  In addition, they provide important habitat for flora and fauna on the Reserve, like the Ozark zigzag salamander, pictured right.  Our survey will include water quality testing at each site, as well as an inventory of the plants and animals that are found there. The results of the study will increase our understanding of the role of groundwater on the Reserve and can be used to inform land management practices by the city of Fayetteville and its partners.

Surveys like this are an important aspect of our land stewardship program. Through our LandWise Initiative, we are working with landowners in key conservation priority areas, including the Greater Kessler Mountain landscape, to save land in this important mountain corridor habitat.   In turn, and with the support of partners like the Beaver Watershed Alliance, we help to preserve water quality for the benefit of the community for generations to come.

If you are a landowner that wants to learn more about how protecting your land can enhance water quality in the region, send us a message or give us a call: 479.966.4666.