US Army Corps of Engineers
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District Projects

UMRR Program - Keithsburg Division HREP - Pool 18

Published March 11, 2020
Keithsburg Division HREP - Pool 18, Upper Mississippi River Miles 431- 428, Mercer County, Illinois.

Keithsburg Division HREP - Pool 18, Upper Mississippi River Miles 431- 428, Mercer County, Illinois.


Pool 18, Upper Mississippi River Miles 431- 428,   Mercer County, Illinois.


The Keithsburg Division Project (Project) is located along the left descending bank of the Upper Mississippi River (UMR), immediately north of the City of Keithsburg in Mercer County, Illinois.  The Project lands, part of the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge, are federally-owned.  

The Project area is a 1,400-acre backwater complex of interconnected backwaters channels, secondary channels, wetlands and floodplain habitat. 

The goals are to restore and protect off-channel aquatic, wetland and floodplain forest habitats. The objectives identified to meet these goals are (1) Restore mudflat and shallow water habitat for shorebird use during the spring and fall migration periods; (2) Restore submergent and emergent vegetation for migratory waterfowl use during the spring and fall migration periods; (3) Increase areal coverage, of forest stands with hard mast-producing trees as dominant or component species in floodplain forest areas; (4) Improve the existing year-round scrub-shrub community, especially buttonbush, for feeding and roosting waterfowl and other wildlife; and (5) Improve year-around bottomland hardwood habitat for Neotropical migrants and other woodland-dwelling species.

Potential Project Features

• Enhance existing berm enhancements

• Construct spillways, water control structures and pumping stations 

• Excavate channels in backwater areas

• Repair existing road

• Plant floodplain forest trees and shrubs

• Use timber stand improvement techniques

The Recommended Plan will restore degraded environmental conditions within the backwater and floodplain forest habitats by providing reliable water level management capabilities and implementing timber stand improvement actions.  This project will increase the quality and quantity of preferred habitat in this location.


Human activity over the past two centuries within the UMR basin, floodplain and channel has altered the hydrology, topography and biotic communities present.  Water level management capability is limited and uncontrolled flood events results in heavy sediment accumulations.  Frequent inundation inhibits island forest regeneration and causes increased mortality of mature trees. All of these alterations have reduced the diversity and quality of aquatic habitat, reduced the acreage and diversity of native floodplain forest and reduced the depth and quality of wetlands.


The feasibility report was approved in November 2018. The Stage I construction was awarded in September 2019 and is scheduled to be completed by September 2021. Plans and specification for Stage II are underway.

Additional Information

Congressional Districts

Senators: Richard Durbin (IL), Tammy Duckworth (IL)

Representatives: IL-17 (Cheri Bustos)

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost    $29,643,000
Estimated Non-Federal Cost  $0
Estimated Total Project Cost  $29,643,000
Allocations Prior to FY 2020 $5,942,553
FY 2020 Allocation   $933,000
FY 2020 Total Capability  $933,000


Major Work Item Current Year
FY 2020: Funds are being used to continue Stage I construction of Keithsburg Division HREP.  During construction, monitoring will be applied using active adaptive management principals to help design future HREPs. Also funds are being used to develop plans and specification for Stage II.