Keithsburg Division Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project

Rock Island District


The Keithsburg Division is a backwater complex located in Pool 18 of the Mississippi River just north of Keithsburg, Illinois. It is made up of interconnected wetlands and floodplain habitat inside the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge.

The Mississippi River, and what is presently Pool 18, has played a significant role in the social and economic development of the region. Historical surveys indicate that at one time, Pool 18 contained a diverse mix of bottomland forests with a high proportion of oaks and other favorable trees. River channels, seasonally flooded backwaters, floodplain lakes, and marshes were also prevalent throughout the area. Human activity over the past two centuries within the Upper Mississippi River basin has altered the hydrology, topography and biotic communities within the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge. Water level management is limited and reoccurring flood events have caused heavy sedimentation. Frequent flooding has also limited forest regeneration and has increased the mortality rate of mature trees. These factors have reduced the diversity and quality of the aquatic floodplain forest habitats within the area.

Quick Facts

  • Acreage:
  • Congressional District(s):
  • State(s) Covered: Illinois
  • Land Ownership: Federal
  • Management Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Management Authority: Refuge


  • The Fact Sheet was approved in September 2010.
  • First public meeting in July 2015
  • The Feasibility Report was approved in November 2018.
  • Keithsburg Construction Contract Stage 1 was awarded September 2019. Construction completion is scheduled for 2021.
  • Plans and Specifications for Stage II are underway.