Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge


Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge
Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge
Shorebirds on the Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge

Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge is a 7,000-acre property consisting primarily of three former polders that did not survive the Great Flood of 1993. The dikes surrounding the land were breached in that flood and it lost all agricultural value shortly thereafter. The Federal government took possession of the remains and the Middle Mississippi River NWR was born here in May of 2000.

The refuge has seven divisions, three consisting of larger islands: Wilkinson Island (near Gorham, IL), Meissner Island (near Valmeyer, IL) and Harlow Island (near Festus, MO). All divisions are in the floodplain of the river, downstream of the confluence with the Missouri River (upstream of the confluence with the Ohio River) and in that part of the flow that is not controlled by any systems of locks and dams. All seven divisions are flooded regularly: the river only has reach the 25-foot stage at Chester, IL and everything is inaccessible by land vehicle. However, that's when the big fish from the middle of the river get closer to shore...

Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge in high water
High water time at Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge