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Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge

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Brussels, Illinois

Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), formerly the Brussels District, is one of five refuges in the Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The Complex was established in 1958 for the protection of migratory birds, and spans 350 miles along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in the states of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. Five divisions, totaling 8,355 acres, are managed by Two Rivers NWR- Calhoun, Gilbert Lake, Batchtown, Portage Islands, and Apple Creek. Refuge headquarters is located near Brussels, Illinois in Calhoun County. The refuge is comprised of backwater sloughs, ponds and lakes bordered by bottomland forest, farm fields and moist soil units. Although primary management emphasis is on the maintenance and development of this habitat for bald eagles and waterfowl, the wide diversity of habitat supports numerous other wildlife species.


Woodlands along backwater sloughs and lakes provide habitat for nesting waterfowl and their broods. Water levels on areas called moist soil units are manipulated to encourage natural development of vegetation for wildlife. Local farmers plant corn, soybeans and wheat on specific areas under cooperative agreements, leaving a share of the crops in the fields for wildlife.


White-tailed deer, squirrel, raccoon, opossum, bobwhite quail, rabbit, beaver and muskrat in addition to numerous bird species are common to the Batchtown Division. The greatest attractions, however, are the annual waterfowl and bald eagle migrations. Each fall and winter thousands of ducks and geese and numerous bald eagles migrate through the area stopping on the refuge for food and shelter.

Public Use

The Batchtown Division is open to sport fishing. Access to backwater areas is from the Prairie Pond parking area. A Mississippi River access area is located at the southwest parking area.

Bluegill, crappie and catfish are the most common catch in the backwater areas. State fishing regulations apply. Commercial fishing is not permitted.

Wildlife observation, photography and nut, berry and mushroom gathering are also permitted. All other activities are prohibited without specific authorization.

Wildlife-related public use is permitted and encouraged so long as it does not conflict with the refuge's primary purpose of providing migratory birds with food and shelter during their migrations.

To provide an undisturbed rest area for waterfowl, bald eagles and other birds, all but the Visitor Contact Station and office at the Calhoun Division is closed annually from October 15th through December 15th.

For additional information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Two Rivers NWR
                 Box 107
                 Brussels, Illinois 62013
                 Telephone: 618/883-2524

                 Visitor Contact Station and Office Hours:
                 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1988.  Batchtown division, Mark Twain National 
     Wildlife Refuge, Illinois.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1988.  Batchtown division, Mark Twain National 
     Wildlife Refuge, Illinois.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     (Version 30DEC2002).

Return to Bird Checklist of Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge

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