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Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge

This 261-mile refuge is the longest river refuge in the continental U.S. The refuge begins at the confluence of the Chippewa River near Wabasha, Minnesota, and ends near Rock Island, Illinois. The refuge lies within four states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.

The river was free-flowing until a series of locks and dams were constructed in the 1930s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Over half of the lands managed by the refuge are owned by the Corps. Today, nearly 240,000 acres of wooded islands, marshes, and backwaters comprise the Upper Miss Refuge. The refuge provides migratory habitat for a large percentage of the migratory birds in the Mississippi Flyway. Tundra swans and canvasback ducks use the refuge as a resting and feeding area in the spring and fall.

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