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Environment in River Bend

Bald Eagle

Although long a home for industry, the St. Louis District of the Corps of Engineers has established the Riverlands Environmental Demonstration Area on lands adjacent to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam. This integrated management approach strikes a favorable balance between river commerce and environmental concerns, while accommodating the public’s desire for more quality open space. The Riverlands staff has taken advantage of the river’s continuing influence to create a 1,200 acre bottomland wet prairie. The area offers excellent opportunities for viewing large numbers of both resident and migratory populations of waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as other varieties of wildlife that depend on quality wetland sanctuaries to survive.

Nature trails, winding through the prairie/marsh complex with walkways over the marsh and observation platforms, will be established through partnerships with private conservation organizations and the help of volunteers.

Bald eagles are seasonably abundant at the Melvin Price Dam, foraging for fish in the tailwater area during periods of harsh winter weather. An observation area provides an excellent opportunity for viewing these magnificent birds.

National Great Rivers Museum

National Great Rivers Museum
Each year millions of people travel to the Mississippi River to learn about its history and its impact on our nation. The National Great Rivers Museum at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam is dedicated to telling the story of the Mississippi River from her grand history and cultural significance to her ecological importance and role as a transportation corridor. The National Great Rivers Museum, off of Illinois Route 143 in Alton, encompasses 12,000 square feet of classroom/temporary gallery space, a theater with stadium seating for 100 people, a gallery and a gift shop. The National Great Rivers Museum provides a unique opportunity to tell the River’s story in a comprehensive, meaningful and relevant way. Some of the themes for the exhibits include the significance of the river from a global perspective, natural forces that create and shape large rivers, man’s interaction with the river, and the cultural legacy of the river and its power to inspire.

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