Resource Management


Manipulation of the habitat across the refuge landscape is essential in providing optimum food and cover for wildlife.  Techiques used to manage the refuge vary depending on the problems encountered.  Water management is used to replicated historic water fluctuations; mechanical manipulations aid in reducing the presence of undesirable plant species; and planting of native species is implemented to restore and enhance habitats.  Pictured above is a mechanical form of manipulation called rolling.

  • Water Management

    Historically when the Mississippi River flooded from seasonal rains and/or snow melts, the abundance of water expanded across the floodplains adjacent to its shores.  Since the beginning of levee construction back in the 1880's, the floodplains behind the levees no longer were replenished by these natural events.

    Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge is located in the floodplain of the Mississippi River and most of the property is surrounded by a levee.  The presence of the levee not only restricts the refuge from the seasonal pulses of the river, but also closes it off from the waters which flow from the hillsides down to the river, which is known as the watershed.

    Refuge staff manage the refuge by replicating the natural function of the floodplain within the levees.  Water is pumped from a tributary to the Mississippi River into ditches laced across the refuge.  In turn the water flows into the individually managed units called Moist Soil Units.  Each of the individual units is capable of being managed independent from the next allowing for variations in water levels and management techniques used across the landscape.

  • Mechanical Manipulation

    Mechanical methods of manipulating the habitat include disking, rolling, mowing and other tractor implements.  Cooperative farmers help with the task of setting back undesirable species by planting fields with row crops which require the turning over of soils and application of selective herbicides.  For units where farming is not the preferred management, refuge staff target these areas with one or possibly a combination of techniques.

    Turning over the soil with mow-board plows and/or disks serve to break up and expose roots of undesirable plants while returning buried seed from favorable species back to the surface.  Rolling helps to do the same, however the activity allows for work to be completed during wet conditions.  Mowing is completed before undesirable plants produce seed, thus allowing for later growing, more favorable plants to out compete them.

  • Restoration and Enhancement Projects

    Planting of native plants such as trees, grasses, sedges and other species help to restore and enhance the habitat on the refuge.  Timber stand improvement projects involve the selective removal of trees surrounding a slow growing desirable tree, such as an oak or hickory.  The removal of the surrounding trees within a specified radius from the chosen tree aids in reducing competition for energy from the sun, moisture and nutrients from the soil.  These and other restoration and enhancement projects help to optimize habitats on the refuge for wildlife.

  • Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

    Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations.  Click here for more information.