EWN Publications

Water Level Management for Enhanced Fish and Wildlife Habitat Production in Upper Mississippi River Navigation Pools

Charles Theiling, Benjamin McGuire, Gretchen Benjamin, Dave Busse, Jon Hendrickson, Kevin Kenow, Kevin Landwehr, Tim Schlagenhaft, and Mary Stefanski
September 30, 2021

About This Publication

ERDC Special Report

There is a long history of fish and wildlife management associated with Upper Mississippi River navigation dams owned and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Many operational changes have been made to improve aquatic habitat, with recent emphasis on pool-scale drawdowns to enhance wetland benefits without affecting navigation or other uses. This special report describes projects successfully incorporating Engineering With Nature® principles in a review of the physical setting and historical fish and wildlife habitat management efforts using Upper Mississippi River System navigation dams. We reviewed 80 years of adaptation and lessons learned about how to integrate navigation operations and wildlife management. Several experiments have revealed the capacity to produce thousands of hectares of emergent and submersed aquatic plants, restoring much-needed riparian habitat for a variety of aquatic, wetland, and avian species.

Research Projects

The practice of managing reservoir and navigation pools to increase wetland habitat value while maintaining safe navigation and managing flood risk is referred to as Environmental Pool Management (EPM). EPM can be a c...