Ecological Status and Trends of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District; and the U.S. Geological Survey, in partnership with others, have released a report regarding the Ecological Status and Trends of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.


The Status and Trends report is the third of its kind produced as part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) program and includes information on long term changes in water quality, aquatic vegetation and fish from six study areas spread across the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The report also summarizes trends in possible drivers of long-term changes in the river including river discharge and floodplain land cover.
Study Area Informational Flyers: Aquatic Plants  -  Water Quality  -  Sediment  -  Forest Loss  -  Fisheries
2023 Status and Trends Webinar

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program

The Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program, authorized by the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, was the first environmental restoration and monitoring program undertaken on a large river system in the United States.

Since its creation, it has come to be recognized as the single most important effort committed to ensuring the viability and vitality of the Upper Mississippi River System's (UMRS) diverse and significant fish and wildlife resources since establishment of the National Wildlife Refuges on that system in the 1920s.

For 35 years the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program has been working to build a healthier, more resilient Upper Mississippi River ecosystem to sustain the river's multiple uses.
This project involved two huge gated-culverts and a channel hundreds of feet long to provide dissolved oxygen in the backwater. Seven acres were also dredged to create deeper wintertime fish habitat.
This is a 500-acre backwater complex, consisting of two miles of island, a berm to reduce sediment, and a small channel. The island protects the area from waves and current, thereby improving light penetration in the water and allowing plants to grow for the benefit of fish and wildlife. Dredging provided wintertime fish habitat.
This 600-acre land and water project provides a 10,200-foot-long rock dike around the head of the island, which deflects sediment from the aquatic and wetlands complex behind it.
The project included constructing islands and dredging to increase water depths. It improved conditions for more than 45 fish species. The island protects the area from waves and current which increases light penetration in the water, allowing plants to grow for the benefit of fish and wildlife. The project also improved wintertime habitat for fish.
A riverside levee reduces sediment input into the lake. Two interior closures were installed to divide the lake into three independently managed units. Islands were constructed to protect the area from waves and current. Pumps and water control structures were installed to re-create historic water-level variations; and deep-water habitat was created for fish.

What Makes UMRR Unique

What makes the UMRR Program (formerly known as the Environmental Management Program or EMP) unique is its unparalleled partnership between a multitude of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the public. 

This systemic program provides a well-balanced combination of habitat restoration activities, along with monitoring and research. It has pioneered many new and innovative engineering and planning techniques for ecosystem restoration in large river systems. The science element of UMRR has developed state-of-the-art techniques to monitor and conduct research on the river. Scientific monitoring, engineering design, and environmental modeling techniques have been shared throughout the United States and in more than five countries.


A Healthier and More Resilient Upper Mississippi River Ecosystem that Sustains the River's Multiple Uses


To work within a partnership among federal and state agencies and other organizations; to construct high-performing habitat restoration, rehabilitation projects; to produce state-of-the-art knowledge through monitoring, research, and assessment; to engage other organizations to accomplish the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program's vision.

UMRR News Releases

Public open house for Quincy Bay Habitat Rehabilitation Project to be held Feb. 15
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, invites the public to an open house announcing the tentative plan for the Quincy Bay Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project. The open...
Corps to host public open house to gather input on Green Island Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is hosting a public open house Nov. 2 to discuss plans for ecosystem restoration...
Groundbreaking to mark start of local habitat restoration project
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a public groundbreaking ceremony October 4 to mark the start of construction for the Steamboat Island Habitat...