Category Archives: Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

A Message from Mary Stefanski

Friends and Volunteers, I hope this message finds you in good health and spirits. In my last message I said we were moving and we are now officially at 102 Walnut Street. Unfortunately, the open house/party will need to wait as none of us have been allowed to work on-site to unpack boxes or put things away. The office looks a little like a scene from a horror movie with boxes strewn about and animal taxidermy mounts perched randomly in a dark, lifeless space. On the other-hand, our old offices at 51 East 4th are eerily vacant.

We had A LOT of left over items from the move (office furniture and supplies, books, binoculars, posters, etc) which have been donated to the Friends of the Refuge Headwaters. They have worked with Darr Auctions and Realty of Rushford, MN to offer these items for public sale. With the COVID-19 restrictions still in place, there will not be a viewing day to personally inspect the items but you can view the photos and bid on them at The auction starts ending at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, so get your bidding number early. If you are interested in items but have specific questions, feel free to email me or call my desk phone and leave a message (507-494-6229) and I will answer them as best I can.

There will also not be a Friends meeting again this month, hopefully the May meeting (May 28) will occur, even if it is by conference call.

I hope you can get out and enjoy some fresh spring air, watch the newly arriving birds at your feeder, or even take a drive to the refuge with binoculars to see what’s changing out there. The flood waters are receding so all of our boat landings should be open by the end of today.

Take care of yourself and stay strong.

Mary Stefanski
Winona District Manager
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Mississippi River Flooding Could Hamper Boat Access

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (Refuge), Winona District is urging boaters to take precautions in the coming days regarding flooding on the Mississippi River. Boaters should be vigilant as flood waters will have significantly changed conditions at traditional access, camping, and day-use sites. Excessive current, turbid water, and submerged and floating… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Offices Relocate

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (Refuge) offices previously located at 51 East 4th Street in Winona, MN have relocated. Beginning Monday, March 30, 2020 they are located at 102 Walnut Street in Winona. The Refuge Headquarters office which oversees the 260 mile refuge from Mississippi River… Continue Reading

Whitewater Master Naturalist Course

Friends and Volunteers, please see the flyer (right – click image to open .pdf) announcing the spring Master Naturalist training program offered by the University of Minnesota Extension at Whitewater State Park. If you have questions, please contact Whitewater State Park Lead Interpretive Naturalist Sara Holger at 507-312-2308 or by email at Continue Reading

Commercial Fishing Guide Permit Process for 2020

In 2019, the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (Refuge) implemented its pilot year of the Commercial Fishing Guide Permit Program. The Refuge waived permit fees and offered a grace period to guides operating in 2019 to allow for a transition into this new program. The 2020 season will be fully enforced and… Continue Reading

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Honors Volunteers

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge (Refuge) Winona offices recently honored volunteers and their guests at a volunteer recognition event.  During 2019, over 100 volunteers contributed more than 1,300 hours of service representing over $32,000. Volunteer activities included assisting with the Refuge booth at community functions, biological surveys, youth fishing days, river… Continue Reading

Waterfowl Observation Day at Brownsville Overlook on November 9

Come join us! The annual Waterfowl Observation Day, hosted by the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Midwest Fisheries Center, Friends of the Upper Mississippi (FUM) and Friends of the Refuge – Mississippi River Pools 7 & 8 (FOR78) will be held Saturday, November 9th at the Brownsville Overlook between 10:00 a.m. and… Continue Reading

Notice of Availability for Public Comment

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY: A draft Compatibility Determination, Realignment of a utility right-of-way (ITC Midwest LLC and Dairyland Power Cooperative, Cardinal to Hickory Creek transmission line, Clayton County, Iowa) is available for public comment from October 25 through November 26, 2019. The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is proposing to allow existing transmission… Continue Reading

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