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Great River & Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuges

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Annada, Missouri

Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1964 with money raised from the sale of federal "duck stamps". The 3,747 acre refuge lies within the Mississippi River floodplain and is made up of permanent and seasonally flooded impoundments, forests, grasslands and crop fields.

Clarence Cannon Refuge is one of nearly 430 national wildlife refuges scattered throughout the United States. Forming a network of diverse habitats across America, these refuges help wildlife.


The National Wildlife Refuge System's goal is to further a national program of wildlife conservation by managing the environment for wild creatures for the benefit of the public. Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge is manage to further that goal by:

Managing for Wildlife

A variety of management techniques are used to enhance habitat diversity on Clarence Cannon Refuge. Activities such as mowing, discing, limited farming, burning and fallowing are used either by themselves or in a variety of combinations to create the desired vegetative response within a given area. The most important element for wildlife management at Clarence Cannon, however, is water level manipulation.

Water is drained from impoundments in early summer to allow the natural regrowth of plants such as foxtail, millet, smartweed, and nutgrass. These impoundments (or moist soil units) are then flooded in the fall after the plants have produced seed. Migrating waterfowl find this combination of water and natural seed source an irresistable invitation to feed and rest before continuing on their tiring journey.

Green tree reservoirs (bottomland forests with large cavity-ridden trees) are seasonally flooded and drained like the moist soil units. The abundant food supply and available nesting cavities make attractive feeding and spring nesting areas for wood ducks and other wildlife.

A limited amount of farming is also used to provide waterfowl with a supplemental, high energy food source such as corn and wheat.


Serving as a link in a chain of migratory bird refuges reaching from northern breeding grounds to southern wintering areas, Clarence Cannon Refuge is centrally located along one of the Nation's most important migration routes, the Mississippi Flyway, affording visitors a unique opportunity to see and enjoy many types of wildlife.

Over 200 species of birds visit the refuge throughout the year. Mallards, pintail, widgeon, teal, shovelers, scaup, gadwall, Canada geese and snow geese are but a few of the waterfowl that visit the refuge by the thousands during the spring and fall migrations.

Wood ducks are commonly seen during all but the coldest months, and in early spring many nest in hollow trees along open water and raise their young in the refuge's river bottom habitat.

Bald Eagles - an endangered species - are often seen during the fall migration as they gather to feed on sick and injured waterfowl.

Herons, egrets, rails, bitterns and many other shore and wading birds are commonly seen feeding in refuge wetlands through the summer. Deer, squirrel, raccoon, muskrat, turkey, beaver, mink, skunk, opossum and coyote are year-round residents at Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge, but are not always easy to spot.

For successful wildlife observation, keep in mind:


About an hour's drive north of St. Louis on Missouri Highway 79, the refuge is located one mile east of Annada, Missouri. Motels, service stations and restaurants are available nearby in Clarksville and Elsberry.

Clarence Cannon Refuge is a part of the larger Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquartered in Quincy, Illinois. The Clarence Cannon staff is also responsible for the 1,700 acre Delair Division in Pike County, Illinois, and the 6,300 acre Gardner Division in Adams County, Illinois.

Refuge Regulations

While Clarence Cannon Refuge welcomes you to engage in several recreational activities, certain regulations are necessary to protect wildlife and preserve the beauty of the area. More detailed information and other regulations may be obtained from the Refuge Manager. Any public access or activity that is not specifically permitted is prohibited.

Take Pride In Your National Wildlife Refuge

As Americans, we have an obligation to be good stewards of our public lands - as citizens, neighbors and caretakers for future generations.

There are many ways you can share in the upkeep of Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge and play an active role in helping to see that its objectives are met. Planting trees, posting signs, painting, mowing and picking up litter and other debris are among the many citizen activities that can be of help. Perhaps you have some artistic or photographic skill you would like to volunteer. Or perhaps your civic group or club would like to make a financial contribution for a needed tool, wetland development or research study. The refuge staff would be happy to discuss how you can participate in caring for your National Wildlife Refuges.

For further information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Great River & Clarence Cannon NWR's
                 PO Box 88
                 Annada, Missouri 63330
                 Telephone: 314/847-2333

Return to Bird Checklist of Great River & Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuges

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