Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge was established as an individual refuge on May 31, 2000. The refuge consists of seven divisions:
Meissner Island Division - 59 acres near Valmeyer, Illinois
Harlow Island Division - 1,191 acres near Festus, Missouri
Beaver Island Division - 256 acres near Kaskaskia, Illinois
Horse Island Division - 2,052 acres near Kaskaskia, Illinois
Crains Island Division - 641 acres across the river from Chester, Illinois
Rockwood Island Division - 1,261 acres near Rockwood, Illinois
Wilkinson Island Division - 2,643 acres near Gorham, Illinois
Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge lands were purchased in response to the great flood of 1993 and are unique in the Great River National Wildlife Refuge complex. The refuge tracts lie within the uncontrolled portion of the Middle Mississippi River, below the confluence with the Missouri River, where river levels are not regulated by the lock and dam system. Water levels may fluctuate greatly in this "open river" section of the Mississippi, and frequent flooding occurs on these lands.
Much of the refuge land had previously been cut off from the floodplain by private levees that protected agricultural lands. Most of the levees were breached by the 1993 flood and have not been repaired. These lands provide access to the floodplain for native fish during high water stages and create a corridor of floodplain forest habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife. The refuge was designated as an Important Bird Area in 2008.
The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Everywas created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.
Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge was established with the purpose to serve as an inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds. The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Act uses money from Duck Stamp sales to purchase refuge lands. Many lands purchased with Duck Stamp funds were defined as inviolate sanctuaries. These lands, under most circumstances, must be at least partially closed to migratory bird hunting to allow birds a place of refuge and protection where they cannot be harmed.
May 31, 2000 - Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge was established.
2008 - The refuge was designated as an Important Bird Area.
Other Facilities in this Complex
Middle Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Great River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The complex spans twos states (Illinois and Missouri) and includes a series of island and land divisions along the Mississippi River. The complex includes Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge, Great River National Wildlife Refuge and Middle Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge. All three refuges are managed from the headquarters building located at Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge in Annada, MO.