Resource Management

Shoreline Protection

Management activities for the Great River National Wildlife Refuge vary depending on the refuge.  Reforestation projects at the Fox Island Division restore bottomland forest communities along the Mississippi River.  Shoreline protection projects (pictured above) at the Long Island Division protect the islands from erosion while providing habitat for fish and mussels.  Timber stand improvement techniques are used at the Long Island Division to enhance the existing mature bottomland forests.  And with the continuous flow of seep waters into the Delair Division, wetland management is a natural choice.  The overall objective for managing these areas is to restore the natural diversity of habitats for the benefit of native and migratory wildlife and fish species.

  • Water Management

    The Delair Division is located behind a levee which effectively separates it from the Mississippi River and the pulses of flood waters.  The refuge is unique because the soils have sand lenses which allow water to seep from the river into the lakes, wetlands and wet meadows across the landscape.  Refuge staff manage the continuous flow of water with the use of water control structures which maintain water at the desired levels.  The habitats that are maintained through this process offer important resting and feeding areas for wildlife. 

  • Mechanical Manipulation

    Mechanical methods of manipulating the habitat include disking, rolling, mowing and other tractor implements.  At the Delair Division, 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 at the Fox Island Division, help 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.  Shoreline improvement projects completed at the Long Island Division in cooperation with the Corps of Engineers provide sheltered habitats from the fast moving waters of the river for fish and mussel species.  These and other restoration and enhancement projects help optimize the diversity of habitats on the refuges 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.