Little Cypress Creek study: A watershed restoration option for protection of wetlandsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The Little Cypress Creek watershed, which is the home of the Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park and Natural Area, is one of the only remaining examples of a headwater swamp ecosystem left in Arkansas. An increase in water elevations and a change in species composition were noticed in the park in late 1970. A study of the upper watershed of Little Cypress Creek was conducted to identify potential factors causing these changes. Water elevations, vegetative composition, and physical modifications were recorded and compared to historical information. A conceptual model of the watershed was developed summarizing current understanding and hypotheses. Although natural variability in rainfall explains some of the changes observed, roads, beaver dams, clearing, levee construction, and irrigation tail water inputs contribute to hydrologic changes in the study area. The vegetation changes observed in the study area are likely due to multiple stressors rather than any single factor.