Recognizing the need for and social relevance of
restoring environmentally and historically significant remnants of land, the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with partners and supporters, developed a plan to
restore and protect 3,700 acres of wetlands adjacent to the Melvin Price Lock
& Dam. The Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary represents this
The Riverlands Migratory
Bird Sanctuary illustrates a balanced management
approach between sustaining the Mississippi river as a national transportation
corridor and recognizing the environmental attributes of the area. The project
utilizes the river's continuing influence to create bottomland wet prairie and
marsh akin to that which existed prior to the introduction of European settlers
in the area.
Sites within the
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary include Ellis Bay, the Teal
Pond, the Native Prairie Restoration Project, and a 300-acre prairie-marsh
complex. Public facilities and trails throughout the Environmental Demonstration
Area have been built by Eagle Scouts from the St. Louis Council, Boy Scouts of
America. More projects to help the public get a better view of wildlife
and plant life within the EDA are planned. The EDA offers open space, fresh air,
and spectacular views of nature for families, school classes, and groups. Here
they can learn about and see firsthand the importance of balancing mans' disturbances
by protecting and restoring natural habitat. The area
offers visitors the opportunity to view large numbers of resident and migratory
waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as other wildlife that live in the wetlands.
The Audubon Center is
located in the Sanctuary and provides exhibits, spotting scopes, picnic
tables and other facilities.
The Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary is
listed on the National Audubon Society's Great
River Birding Trail. They report that snipe, yellowlegs and American
Golden-plovers can be seen on the marsh mudflats, white gulls and waterfowl
swim and feed along the river and in Ellis Bay. Thousands of American
White Pelicans, Canvasback,
Redhead, Ring-necked Ducks and Lesser Scaup migrate through here, along with
sea ducks such as Bufflehead and Common Goldeneye. Also watch for Northern
Harriers and Short-Eared Owls. During the coldest part of the winter when
the river freezes over, American Bald
Eagles line the banks just below the dam, taking advantage of the open
water and upwelling currents. Rare Glaucous, Thayer's, Iceland, or
Lesser-backed Gulls may also be present.
of the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary Area
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Open Daily: 8 am -
Project Office is
open Monday - Friday: 8 am - 4 pm
There is no charge to visit the Riverlands
Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
Directions: Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located near
West Alton, Missouri. From US-67 turn onto Riverlands Way (at the FISCA station)
near the Clark Bridge.
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary is across the river from Alton,
Illinois in the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway area.