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Fox Island Habitat Restoration Project Improves Riparian Habitat

Preliminary design of wildlife habitat enhancements at the FWS Fox Island Division of the Great River National Wildlife Refuge was performed by Stanley Consultants for the Rock Island District Corps of Engineers, with local sponsorship from the USFWS.

The Fox Island Habitat Restoration and Enhancement project was designed as a part of a regional strategy for improving and connecting riparian habitat.  The recommended plan included features for moving and controlling water on the site, mast forest plantings, a natural tall-grass prairie and access roads.  Water control features include wells, a ramp for a portable pump on the Mississippi River, culverts beneath an active railroad and access roads, berms to contain water to create wetlands, channels to move water throughout the site, stoplog structures to control water levels at each of the ponding areas, and a sluice gated structure at a key release point from the wetlands back to the Fox River.

The Division will be managed to grow forage during the summer, then flooding most of the shallow ponds and wetlands to provide habitat for migrating waterfowl in the fall and early spring.  The prairie and forest plantings, combined with the adjacent Rose Pond Missouri Department of Conservation Natural History Area, expand the area of contiguous upland habitat as well as habitat for two species of endangered turtles.  The project utilized government assessment tools including MCACES for cost estimating, Wildlife Habitat Appraisal Guide (WHAG) for evaluating the habitat improvements and IWR-Plan decision support software.

ACASS Rating - Very Good