What We Do

The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the refuge system. It drives everything we do from the purpose for which a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge.

The refuge consists mainly of batture lands open to the river’s flood pulse. This results in regular inundation and the processes of scour and sedimentation to occur across the refuge’s forests, sloughs and side channels. Due to the seasonal variability and intensity of the frequent flooding, conservation tools available to manage the habitats are limited. When applicable, natural succession of floodplain forests is encouraged, although species diversity is limited to plant species tolerant of frequent long-term inundation.

Opportunities to restore degraded habitats by partnering with federal, state and non-profit entities have been fostered through a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Middle Mississippi River Partnership. Limited tree planting, control of 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.

Learn more about invasive species
and restoring the natural pulse of the river are top priorities. Abandoned agriculture fields are allowed to naturally seed into riverfront forest tree species. At moderate river stages, the refuge stores flood water on more than 8,000 acres, reducing impacts to surrounding private lands and infrastructure.

Our Services

Special use permits are issued for compatible secondary uses, research, commercial photography, nuisance trapping and other short term related activities. For questions and more information about special use permits, please call the refuge headquarters at 573-847-2333.

Law Enforcement

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers have a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Officers help visitors understand and obey wildlife protection laws. They work closely with state and local government offices to enforce federal, state and refuge hunting regulations that protect migratory birds and other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities.

Laws and Regulations

For information regarding refuge rules, regulations and whether or not an activity requires a permit, please refer to the refuge brochure or call the refuge headquarters at 573-847-2333.