News from the Refuge

We hope everyone is well and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. We at the Refuge have been assured that field work will start up again in the near future and perhaps will lead to some volunteer opportunities once again. Unfortunately, we have cancelled all of the regular fishing events with Project Compass for the year. Hopefully, we will get back on a regular schedule with them next spring. We currently have no public events scheduled but will look into some paddling outings later in the summer.

We have been receiving reports of very little activity by great blue herons at the once extremely active nesting colony at Mertes’ Slough. This colony has been monitored since the 1970’s with over 400 active nests every year. We will be taking a look but would appreciate any reports from you of herons building nests or just large concentrations of herons which might help us locate where they have gone. It’s not uncommon for rookeries to abandon but we would like to track them down if possible.

And finally, changes continue to take place on the Refuge. Below is the announcement of Deputy District Manager Curt McMurl’s transfer to a Refuge Manager position. If you would like, you can offer him congratulations at

Curt McMurl has accepted the Refuge Manager job at Illinois River Refuges Complex in Havana, IL. In this new position Curt will oversee operations at Chautauqua, Emiquon, and Meredosia NWRs. Curt has been the Deputy District Manager of the Winona District of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge since 2011. Prior to his current job, Curt has also worked for the Service at Two Rivers and Chickasaw NWRs and as a wildlife biologist for the Lower MS Joint Venture. In addition to a shorter job title, Curt is looking forward to the opportunity to manage these new Refuges and apply his work experience with big river systems and active wetland and waterfowl management to meet the challenges presented on the Illinois River. Curt and his family will be relocating to Illinois, which is home for him, and we will welcome him to his new role on August 2nd.

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