You can blame the weather and poor timing for the inability for planned efforts to plant 10,000 cypress and oaks in a section of the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge called Mollicy Farms.
Chris Rice, with the Nature Conservancy, said that while January through March is the “optimum time” to plant tree seedlings, it’s also the window of time that that particular stretch of refuge typically floods.
Rice said a visit to the area in the past two days revealed flooding as high as five feet.
“The water is starting to drop and in a few weeks’ time we could plant them, but by that time those trees would not be successful,” he said.
The flooding remains an impediment that is unlikely to change anytime in the future.
Established dates for the volunteer-run efforts had been postponed twice since December because of persistent flooding.
Instead, Rice is now looking for organizations to contact him about getting the trees and planting them someplace else.
He said that wildlife officials, including those with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, still want to see Mollicy Farms replenished with trees. The area across from it over the Oauchita River, he said, has ample trees.
He thinks he and others on staff may look at collecting seeds from those mature trees and redistribute them into the barren area at some point in the future.
Although Rice said those involved are disappointed in the inability to plant the scores of trees, he has been encouraged by the strong response from volunteers who pledged to help in the goal.
“I feel very positive about the commitments, and I hope that we are still able some way to get folks out there and see this amazing stretch,” he said.
“There are many who don’t know about it at all.”
Organizations interested in receiving the trees are encouraged to email Rice at email@example.com.