US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District Website


Keithsburg Division Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project

Rock Island District

Pool 18, Upper Mississippi River, Miles 428.0 - 431.0, Mercer County, Illinois, Congressional District: IL - 17


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


The Keithsburg Division is a 1,400-acre 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.


The goal of the project is to restore and protect off-channel aquatic, wetland and floodplain forest habitats within the Keithsburg Division of the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge.

Objectives identified to meet this goal includes: restoring mudflats and shallow water habitat for shorebird use during the spring and fall migration periods; restoring vegetation for migratory waterfowl use during the spring and fall migration periods; increasing the diversity of the forest by adding hard mast-producing trees; improving the existing year-round shrub community to allow for feeding and roosting waterfowl and other wildlife; and improving year-round bottomland hardwood habitat for other migrating and woodland-dwelling species.


    Quick Facts

  • Approximate Acres: 1388
  • State(s) Covered: Illinois
  • Land Ownership: Federal
  • Management Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Management Authority: Refuge  

Potential Project Features

  • Improve existing perimeter berm
  • Construct spillways, water control structures and pumping station on the existing berm
  • Plant floodplain forest trees and shrubs
  • Use timber stand improvement techniques


  • 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.


Submit Comments

The public comment period for the Keithsburg Division HREP has now closed.