Magazine article National Parks

Npca@work

Magazine article National Parks

Npca@work

Article excerpt

Are endangered bats in Arkansas facing an additional threat... from pigs? Or more precisely, are bats that are already battling white-nose syndrome now further jeopardized by the waste of 6,500 pigs housed in two industrial swine production barns built along Big Creek, a major tributary of the Buffalo National River? The pig farm operators say they safely dispose of millions of gallons of hog waste. But that waste is stored in two one-acre lagoons, then sprayed onto fields with very little topsoil and an underlayer of porous karst, a landscape including soluble rock, caves, sinkholes, and springs. NPCA and its allies are not convinced that is an environmentally sound practice, and neither is Van Brahana, a retired University of Arkansas professor who conducted a dye-tracing study to see just where groundwater goes. He found that some of the dye he injected in a former well on private property near the concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs (as the barns are called), traveled five miles downstream to a cave that's a hibernaculum for gray bats, one of three endangered bat species in the area. …

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