US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District


Steamboat Island Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project

Rock Island District

Pool 14, Upper Mississippi River, Miles 502.5 - 506.5, Scott County, Iowa, Congressional District: Iowa - 2


  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources 


Steamboat Island HREP is a 2,630 -acre island and backwater complex located in the middle section of Pool 14 of the Upper Mississippi River, between the town of Princeton and the Wapsipinicon River, in Scott County, Iowa. The Project lands are federally owned and are part of the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (NWFR).

Human activity over the past two centuries within the UMR basin, floodplain, and channel has altered the hydrology, topography, and biotic communities present. Years of silt deposition has allowed willows and silver maples to colonize the once-aquatic portions of the Project area, resulting in degraded aquatic and wetland complexes. 

Impoundment of the pool and permanently higher water tables have affected the health of floodplain habitat on islands and adjacent floodplain areas. These higher water tables are affecting forest composition and regeneration. All of these alterations have reduced the quality and diversity of aquatic and floodplain habitats, impaired ecosystem functions, and reduced the acreage of Steamboat Island and other smaller islands in the area.

The goals of the project are to maintain, enhance, and restore quality habitat for all native and desirable plant, animal, and fish species and maintain, enhance, restore, and emulate natural river processes, structures, and functions for a sustainable ecosystem. 

The objectives identified to meet these goals are: maintain and/or increase habitat for protected species and species of special concern and refuge priority resources of concern protect, enhance, and restore aerial coverage and diversity of floodplain forest habitat and increase hard mast-producing trees, as measured in acres of elevated topography and number of hard-mast tree species present in the Project area increase year-round aquatic habitat diversity, as measured by acres and native fish use of spawning, rearing, and overwintering habitat maintain and improve acreage and topography of Steamboat Island and side channel islands protect backwater and interior wetland areas maintain or modify side channel riverine hydrodynamic, sediment transport, and geomorphic processes in the Project area to benefit desirable aquatic habitat


Quick Facts

  • Approximate Acres: 2600
  • Congressional District: Iowa - 2
  • State(s) Covered: Iowa
  • Land Ownership: Federal
  • Management Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Management Authority: Refuge

Potential Project Features

  • Diversifying flow within Steamboat Slough
  • Dredging in backwater channels
  • Topographic diversity measures
  • Timber stand improvement techniques
  • Forest, scrub-shrub, and pollinator habitat enhancement
  • Island restoration and protection


  • The Fact Sheet was approved in September 2010.
  • First Open House - 26 March 2018.
  • Complete Feasibility Report in 2020.

 Steamboat Island overview map