American bittern

Projects on National Wildlife Refuge System lands

We have selected seven nature-based resiliency projects in the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River basin, an area encompassing lands and waters in five states in the midwest, and includes vast bottomland forests, wetlands and riverine habitats supporting 60% of the countries migrating birds and 40% of North America’s waterfowl, as well as a diverse array of fish and wildlife. As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, $10 million has been allocated to this project area and is the largest climate investment in history—for nature-based resiliency and restoration.

These seven projects will reduce the risks and associated damages of flood and drought by restoring resilient habitats using nature-based solutions like levee removal or setbacks, reconnecting flood plain wetlands and backwaters, reengineered climate-adaptive infrastructure, as well as removing and replacing invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

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with native plant species. These projects will benefit fish and wildlife while also providing the ancillary benefits of recreational activities like hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing along with providing neighboring communities environmental services like clean water, air and potential reductions in flood and drought impacts.

Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s infrastructure and economic competitiveness. We were directly appropriated $455 million over five years in BIL funds for programs related to the President’s America the Beautiful initiative.

Learn more about Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
and the Inflation Reduction Act, the Department of the Interior is implementing a more than $2 billion downpayment to restore our nation’s lands and waters. In March, we announced an investment of more than $120 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to rebuild and restore units of the National Wildlife Refuge System and partnering state wildlife management areas that have been affected by adverse weather events. The investment prioritizes projects that promote coastal resilience and climate adaptation, address invasive species threats, and provide for additional data collection needed to support successful natural resource resilience.

The Upper Mississippi and Illinois River basin nature-based resiliency projects represent a unique opportunity to address restoration needs that are designed to reduce the impacts of climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

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to an ecosystem which is home to a vast array of fish, wildlife and plants, and the people who live, work and recreate there.

Project nameStateCountyFunding
Rush Lake Water Control Structure Adaptive ReplacementIALouisa$55,000
Tarr Marsh Climate Resiliency and Restoration ProjectIAJackson$345,915
Building Resilience in America’s Big River ForestsIL, IA, MN, MO, WIMultiple$1,110,000
Guttenberg Ponds ConnectionIAClayton$500,000
Treatment of Bottomland Hardwood ForestMOWayne, Stoddard$577,500
Replacement and Improvement of Water Control Structures on Ditches 1 and 2MOWayne, Stoddard$1,251,000
Upper Mississippi River Pool 6 Sam Gordy’s Slough Connectivity Restoration ProjectWIBuffalo$250,000

Through these investments, we are working with state partners to complete geographically diverse, large-scale projects that are mutually beneficial for these conservation areas, including projects that benefit underserved communities and Tribal interests. The program supports the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful Initiative, a decade-long challenge to pursue locally led and voluntary conservation to protect, conserve, connect, and restore our nation’s lands, waters, habitats and wildlife.

Learn more about our work through the Inflation Reduction Act.

Canvasbacks in flight

Contact Information



A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 570 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.


Kayaking in one of the refuge pools, a group of American white pelicans in the background
Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1936 and is nestled along the eastern edge of the mighty Mississippi River. The scenic drive to the refuge along the Great River Scenic Byway entices travelers along the way.
Sun setting behind the bluffs on the Upper Mississippi River
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge has been a haven for migratory birds, fish, wildlife and people since 1924. The refuge stretches 261 river miles from Wabasha, Minnesota to Rock Island, Illinois, and protects more than 240,000 acres of Mississippi River floodplain. The...
Ducks flying out of moist soil unit
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge provides a number of great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. The mixture of bottomland forests, wetlands and swamps creates great waterways for canoeing and kayaking, and has miles of wildlife drives, a variety of hiking trails, and prime locations for hunting and...
Pintail ducks in flight over Swan Lake wetland unit.
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1958 to protect and enhance habitat for migratory birds. Located between the Mississippi River and Illinois River, the refuge encompasses 9,225 acres of riverine and floodplain habitat scattered around the confluence of the rivers. The mosaic...
Four turtles, including painted and map turtles, sun on a submerged log among branches and duckweed
The 24,149 acre Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge was established for the protection of migratory birds and other wildlife. It is located in Iowa and Illinois along the Mississippi River Flyway, one of the major routes for migrating waterfowl. Each year in the spring and fall hundreds, if not...
Swans at Delair Division of Great River National Wildlife Refuge
Great River National Wildlife Refuge aims to restore and mimic the mosaic of habitats that were historically found along the Mississippi River. Slow moving backwaters, floodplain forests, wetlands, sedge meadows and grasslands combine to provide food, shelter and resting areas for a variety of...
Mallards on pond
Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge is named in honor of Congressman Clarence Cannon and covers 3,750 acres of Mississippi River floodplain. Refuge lands are comprised of managed moist soil units, open water, wet meadows and bottomland forest habitats. The refuge provides a feeding and resting...
Monarch butterflies on blooming yellow flowers
Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1936 for the main purpose of providing sanctuary for the millions of birds that migrate along the Illinois River. Today, Chautauqua refuge provides sanctuary and breeding ground for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. The refuge has been...
Three snow geese in flight
Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1973 and is located along the east side of the Illinois River in Morgan and Cass counties in Illinois. The refuge is part of the traditional homeland of the Illinois people, past and present. Many areas within Meredosia refuge have been spared...
mixed flock of mallard and pintail ducks resting in wetlands
Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Complex and encompasses 2,631 acres of wetland habitats at the confluence of the Illinois and Spoon rivers. The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve and the Illinois State Museum Dickson...
Overlook at Middle Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge
Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge was established as an individual refuge on May 31, 2000. The refuge consists of seven island divisions that lie within the uncontrolled portion of the Middle Mississippi River, below the confluence with the Missouri River, where river levels are not...