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USA Parks
Iowa
Southeast Region
Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge
MARK TWAIN NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
MARK TWAIN NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
The Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWR) was established for the protection of migratory birds including waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds. It is located along the Mississippi Flyway, one of the major routes for migrating waterfowl. Refuge units also provide important habitat for big river fish and a variety of other native wildlife such as deer, fox, beaver, frogs, turtles, and snakes. Key goals are to conserve and enhance the quality and diversity of fish and wildlife and their habitats, to restore floodplain functions in the river corridor, and to provide wildlife-related recreational experiences for the public.
Nature of the Area
For centuries, the Upper Mississippi River and its floodplain have provided habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife species. Over time, however, the natural river has been dramatically altered for navigation, flood control, agriculture and other human development, leaving fewer natural places for birds, fish, and other animals to live.

The lands and waters of the Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge Complex provide fish and wildlife habitat along 350 miles of the Mississippi River corridor between Muscatine, Iowa and Gorham, Illinois. The 45,000 acres of wetland, open water, bottomland forest and grassland provide important habitat for the birds, fish and mussels, mammals, amphibians and reptiles that are native to this portion of the Upper Mississippi River. Unfortunately, many non-native invasive species are becoming established too.

Ducks, geese, shorebirds, and marsh and wading birds feed on wetland plants and invertebrates. Many fish species use wetland vegetation for feeding, refuge from predators, and spawning substrate. Turtles, salamanders, and snakes often depend on wetlands, too. Bottomland forests are used by migrating and nesting songbirds, waterfowl, hawks and eagles, herons and egrets, deer, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Grassland species such as the meadowlark, dickcissel, and grasshopper sparrow also benefit from our refuge management programs.
History of the Area
Several units within the Complex were established in the 1940's following construction of the lock and dam system. Those units were consolidated into Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge in 1958. Since then, other areas have been added to Mark Twain, which now includes 45,000 acres scattered along 345 miles of the Mississippi River and short distances up the Illinois and Iowa rivers. In 2000, Mark Twain NWR was split into five separate National Wildlife Refuges - Port Louisa NWR, Great River NWR, Clarence Cannon NWR, Two Rivers NWR, and Middle Mississippi River NWR. The Refuge Complex administration office, located in Quincy, IL, has retained the Mark Twain name.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is an agency of the Department of the Interior. Our mission is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.


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Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Mississippi River Lodge - Thomson, ILBBs / Inns
Located right on the banks on the Mighty Mississippi River between Savanna and Thomson Illinois. Our location has one of the most awe-inspiring views of the Mississippi River around.
Web Site: mississippiriverlodge.com
71.3 miles from park*
Carroll County Tourism - Carroll County, ILHotels/Motels
You will feel right at home when you reach Carroll County, our corner of beautiful Northwest Illinois. The magnificent Mississippi River and outdoor spaces will refresh your spirit and touch our soul.
Web Site: gocarrollcounty.com
76.6 miles from park*
Savanna - Savanna, ILHotels/Motels
Located just 30 minutes from Galena and 2 hours from Chicago, Savanna is a great place for renewal and regeneration. We invite you to browse through our web-site and plan your getaway today.
Web Site: visitsavanna.com
74.3 miles from park*
Area Resources
Carroll County Tourism - Carroll County, ILTourism
You will feel right at home when you reach Carroll County, our corner of beautiful Northwest Illinois. The magnificent Mississippi River and outdoor spaces will refresh your spirit and touch our soul.
Web Site: gocarrollcounty.com
76.6 miles from park*
Savanna - Savanna, ILTourism
Located just 30 minutes from Galena and 2 hours from Chicago, Savanna is a great place for renewal and regeneration. We invite you to browse through our web-site and plan your getaway today.
Web Site: visitsavanna.com
74.3 miles from park*
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USA Parks
Iowa
Southeast Region
Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge
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