The refuge is located in four states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois along the Mississippi River. The Refuge was established in in 1924 as a refuge for fish, wildlife and plants and a breeding place for migratory birds. The refuge encompasses one of the largest blocks of floodplain habitat in the lower 48 states. Bordered by steep wooded bluffs that rise 100 to 600 feet above the river valley, the Mississippi River corridor and refuge offer scenic beauty and productive fish and wildlife habitat unmatched in the heart of America. The refuge covers just over 240,000 acres and extends 261 river miles from north to south at the confluence of the Chippewa River in Wisconsin to near Rock Island, Illinois.
The refuge is designated as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar) and a Globally Important Bird Area.
Winona District Pools 4-6 (Wabasha, MN to La Crosse, WI)
River Miles 763.5 - 714.5
LaCrosse District Pools 7-8 (La Crosse, WI to Reno, MN)
River Miles 714.5 - 679.5
McGregor District Pools 9-11 (Reno, MN to Dubuque, IA)
River Miles 679.5 - 583.1
Savanna District Pools 12-14 (Dubuque, Ia to Cordova, IL)
River Miles 583.1 - 502.7