The Fourth of July is just around the corner. If you are heading to the Mississippi River for a boating or camping trip, just a reminder: no fireworks are allowed on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge due to their disturbance to wildlife and the litter they leave behind.
The refuge includes most islands and beaches on the Mississippi River from Wabasha to Rock Island, Ill. If you are not sure if you will be within the refuge, please contact the refuge office at 608-779-2399 or check the maps located at www.fws.gov/refuge/upper_mississippi_river.
Federal law enforcement officers will be patrolling the refuge looking for fireworks as well as glass bottles, which are also banned on refuge beaches. The fine for glass bottles is $175 and $225 for fireworks possession and use. Officers also want to remind people of the importance of wearing their personal floatation devices (PFDs) while on the water. They thank you for helping keep the refuge a great place for people and wildlife.
The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is the most visited refuge in the United States. The refuge extends 261 miles along the Upper Mississippi River from Wabasha to Rock Island, Ill., protecting and preserving habitat for migratory birds, fish, and a variety of other wildlife.
In addition to being the most visited refuge in the country, the refuge has the added complexity of a major navigation system including 11 locks and dams within its boundary. It is also a world-class fish and wildlife area which harbors 306 species of birds; 119 species of fish; more than 300 active bald eagle nests; thousands of heron and egret nests; spectacular concentrations of canvasback ducks, tundra swans, and white pelicans; and several threatened or endangered species.