The plants that grow in the water and on the shore of the River are critical to the health of the river. Habitat restoration projects in the UMR are intended to improve the ecosystem by increasing the quality and amount of vegetation.
In order to help track vegetation responses to habitat restoration, the UMRCC Vegetation Ad Hoc Committee organizes collaborative vegetation sampling efforts in at least two pools of the UMR as well as priority terrestrial and bottomland forest locations along the River.
The partnership also maintains a database for data storage and visualization.
Because the Mississippi River crosses state lines, it is important for adjacent states to work together to maintain consistent fishing regulation and enforcement. The UMRCC provides a forum for discussion of fishing regulation changes, oftentimes resulting in joint changes in adjacent states to create regulations that work for anglers as well as the fisheries resource.
The Fisheries Technical Section maintains records of current recreational and commercial fishing regulations to facilitate discussions and anticipate future needs.
Understanding where migratory birds move and the areas where they spend time helps wildlife biologists understand how to manage hunting regulations and habitat to protect the wildlife resources of the Upper Mississippi River.
To aid in this understanding, the UMRCC Wildlife Technical section hosts an annual collaborative bird banding event in which waterfowl are captured and a metal band is placed around their leg. Harvested or recaptured birds are recorded in databases that inform waterfowl management decisions.
Field Trip Grants
In order to promote recreational use, education, and preservation in the UMR, the UMRCC OREIT offers a grant program to support schools or education-related non-profit organizations for field trips to the Mississippi or Illinois Rivers.
The goal is to connect students to nature and encourage a sense of stewardship of the Mississippi River. Ten field trip grants of $350 are available annually.
Upper Mississippi River Library
The Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee (UMRCC) approached Murphy Library in February 2017 to discuss a potential collaboration. The UMRCC was interested in locating an institution to permanently house its library of Mississippi River-related materials, a collection that began in the early 1940s. Just as important as the physical storage, the UMRCC was also interested in the materials gaining an online presence, thereby further enhancing accessibility.
After seeing the collection and better understanding the intellectual value and relevance to UWL and the Upper Mississippi Region, Murphy Library was pleased to receive 73 boxes of UMRCC materials in April 2018.
Shortly thereafter, the UMRCC, along with the UWL Provost Office, Murphy Library Endowment Fund, UWL River Studies Center, and Indus International, combined efforts to purchase the Indus BookScanner 9000 in order to facilitate and expedite the collection’s digitization.
By the UMRCC’s 75th annual meeting in March 2019, over 10,000 objects had been digitized, completing the first phase of this multi-year project.
The UMRCC passed a resolution on the negative impacts of rising chloride levels in the Mississippi River Watershed which proposed methods for reducing impairment caused by chloride. The UMRCC is partnering with the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association and Saltwise Wisconsin to promote education and best management practices to reduce chloride levels in our streams and rivers.