Izaak Walton League of America

Managing the Upper Mississippi River

Read or listen to Minnesota Public Radio story. (6/10/2009)

After 85 Years, Protecting Refuge Still a Challenge

The Upper Mississippi River Basin (UMRB) has been dominant in the direction taken by the Izaak Walton League of America since our founding in 1922. From driving the creation of the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge in 1924, to the establishment in 1984 of a permanent UMRB office specifically charged with river protection and agricultural conservation, the course plotted by the League has followed the great river.

The Upper Mississippi River is one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet. It includes 50 species of mammals, 45 of reptiles and amphibians, 37 of mussels, and 241 of fish. The river is home to the most ancient linage of freshwater fisheries in North America - the aquatic counterpart to the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest.

The UMRB program of the IWLA has carried out its charge in regard to the river by assuming leading roles in the effort to reform the navigation system and the Army Corps of Engineer's management and mitigation processes. We have led in addressing agricultural impacts on the river, promoting sustainable agriculture practices and the development of farm conservation programs by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Whether in policy development or localized action, the League maintains a priority position for the UMRB.

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