1950: Congress authorizes the Cache River Channelization Project in the Flood Control Act of 1950.
1970: Congress authorizes $60 million to channelize 232 miles of the Cache River and Bayou DeView.
1971: Arkansas Wildlife Federation and several private landowners sue to stop channelization. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission later joins the suit. The AGFC also purchases land from three private landowners to create Black Swamp Wildlife Management Area to preserve wetlands along the Cache.
1972: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins ditching the Cache River. Rex Hancock helps organize the Citizens Committee to Save the Cache River Basin.
1973: A federal injunction stops the ditching after four miles are completed.
1977: Congress reauthorizes funding and three more miles of the river are ditched.
1978: A government task force concludes that ditching the Cache River will be the single most damaging project to waterfowl and floodplain forest in the nation. Funding ends, leaving a seven-mile wound on the lower Cache.
1980s: Local people, agencies, and conservation groups begin working together to conserve the remaining forests in the Cache River watershed.
1984: Cache River National Wildlife Refuge is authorized, establishing the refuge along the Cache River and Bayou DeView and conserving nearly 50,000 acres.
1985: The Wetlands Reserve Program allows private landowners and farmers to reforest thousands of previously cleared wetland acres that most agreed were too wet to farm effectively.
1990: The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands names the Big Woods a “Wetland of International Importance.”
1990s: An additional 100,000 acres are conserved, connecting Cache River NWR to White River NWR, including the acquisition of Benson Creek Natural Area and the transfer of Potlatch lands to the White River NWR.
2004: The Corps of Engineers, Ducks Unlimited and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission develop a plan to restore the lower Cache River.
2009: Local project partners request assistance from The Nature Conservancy to move the project to implementation.
2013: Construction is set to begin on the lower Cache River restoration project.
(For more, see Rex Hancock Rememberd for Taming the Cache River)