The land, water, and sky of the upper Mississippi River are teaming with life. The Mississippi and the surrounding bluffs and floodplains provide food and shelter for migrating birds, unique fish, and remarkable mammals. Many species of birds summer here with many more species using the river and its forests and grasslands as stopovers during their epic migrations. More than 120 species of fish make their home in the river, along with recovering mussel populations. Otters, coyotes, deer, beaver and muskrats and other mammals live along the river's banks.
The National Park Service routinely conducts studies to monitor and evaluate animal populations. The park also assesses the quality of their habitat and works with partners to restore, connect, and expand natural areas while preventing or supressing invasive species.
Research and Species of Concern
Invasive Asian Carp
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is working on an Action Plan to stop Asian carp as far down stream as possible. Are you curious about why these fish are so bad? Read about how they might impact our rivers and lakes, how they spread, and what they eat.
North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) were nearly extinct 100 years ago in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Their return to the Twin Cities since the 1980's is a success story for water quality on the Mississippi River.
Bald Eagle Survey
Chances are high that you've seen a bald eagle along the Mississippi recently. The National Park Service is studying bald eagles to determine the persistence of various chemicals in the upper Mississippi River, the Saint Croix and the Apostle Islands. These studies provide insight into how many eagles are here, and the health of the river and related ecosystems.