Boundary expansion has been approved for the Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge

Siti. GENEVA, Missouri – The US Fish and Wildlife Service today announced newly expanded acquisition boundaries for the Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri and Illinois. A license for this expansion will allow the service to obtain up to 90,000 acres of land purchases from interested land owners who wish to sell within the expanded boundaries.

The expansion of the refuge will provide for the protection and restoration of large areas attached to the floodplain hardwood forest. It will also provide additional critical habitat for migratory birds and federally threatened and endangered species, as well as access to lands and rivers for hunters, fishermen, and other outdoor enthusiasts. All of these priorities contribute to the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

“The service appreciates the efforts of the Middle Mississippi River Partnership and the more than 22 partner organizations that worked collaboratively to achieve this expansion,” said Chuck Traxler, Acting Regional Director for the Midwest. “This expansion will benefit fish, wildlife and their habitats while improving community resilience and access to nature.”

Increasing access to public lands and waters is a key component of the administration’s approach to environmental conservation, including locally and voluntary-led conservation and restoration efforts under President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative.

The land protection plan that allowed expansion and defined the refuge’s new acquisition boundaries includes portions of multiple counties within the historic floodplains of the Mississippi River, between Mile 195 and River 1. This includes Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, and Randolph, Jackson, Union, and Alexander counties along the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, St. Louis, Jefferson, and St. Genevieve, Perry, Cape Girardeau, Scott, and Mississippi counties along the Missouri side of the Mississippi River.

The Mid-Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge was originally established as a refuge on May 31, 2000. The sanctuary’s authorized acquisition area at this time consisted of seven island sections located within the open river portion of the Mississippi River below its confluence with the Missouri River. and over the confluence of the Ohio River, where river levels are not regulated by the lock and sluice system. These lands provide access to the floodplain for native fish during upwelling phases and create a corridor of floodplain forest habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife. Water levels can fluctuate greatly in this open river portion of the Mississippi River, and frequent flooding occurs over these lands. The refuge was designated an Important Bird Area in 2008. It is anticipated that future acquisitions facilitated by this expansion will allow habitat restoration through floodplain connectivity and side channel creation that will provide nature-based solutions and build climate resilience.

The National Wildlife Refuge is an unrivaled network of 568 National Wildlife Refuges and 38 Wetland Management Areas. there

Learn more about the National Wildlife Refuge within an hour’s drive from most major metropolitan areas. More than 55 million Americans visit shelters each year. National Wildlife Refuges provide vital habitat for thousands of species and access to world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and boating to nature viewing, photography and environmental education.

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