Important Bird Areas

Sloughs Wildlife Management Area

Kentucky

In the spring of 2006, the Technical Review Committee under the auspices of the Kentucky Audubon Council approved the nomination of Kentucky's first Important Bird Area. It is Sloughs Wildlife Management Area in the flood plain of the Ohio River near Henderson, KY. Known as ?The Slough? and also by the name of one of the WMA?s tracts, ?Sauerheber?, this site is composed of 10,000 acres in separate satellite units that were originally a wetland and hardwood bottoms along the Ohio River. Most of the land that today makes up Sloughs WMA was converted for agricultural use and has been returned, as nearly as possible, to its original condition. Wells with powerful pumps are used to flood hundreds of acres creating reliable shallow water habitats for waterfowl. Cover and food crops are planted for birds as well. Sloughs WMA is the winter home for approximately 15,000 geese and 20,000 ducks. It is the site of one of the most prolific Bald Eagle nests east of the Mississippi River.

The KAC, birders, and the population in general, all are excited and happy that Sloughs WMA has been designated as Kentucky?s first IBA. This is the area where John James Audubon lived, operated a business, and worked as an artist for several years during the 1800?s. Henderson, KY was home to the first Audubon Society chapter in the state. It is further meaningful to Kentuckians that Sloughs WMA has been reclaimed as closely as possible to its original state, something that is rare indeed when wetlands have been lost. There is heritage as well as scientific importance associated with Kentucky?s first IBA.