Potential for conservation lands in Middle Mississippi River floodplains to mitigate flood flows for ecosystem services


  1. Determine the spatiotemporal patterns of inundation indices, such as duration, seasonality, extent, and magnitude, for Middle Mississippi River national Wildlife Refuge (MMR NWR) floodplain lands.
  2. Quantify the relationships between inundation indices and both the spatiotemporal patterns of habitat availability and nutrient processing potential on MMR NWR floodplain lands.
  3. Model how do different design scenarios, including management of levees, topography, and vegetation communities, affect the patterns of ecological diversity, nutrient processing, and sediment distributions on MMR NWR lands.
  4. Determine the optimal sample designs based on model results for deployment of water-level gages and water-quality monitoring instrumentation on MMR NWR lands.


We will use 1- and 2-dimensional, spatially nested hydrodynamic models to explore the hydrologic and hydraulic potential for improving ecologic diversity and potential of National Wildlife Refuge lands in the Middle Mississippi River (MMR). The first phase of the project is a landscape-scale approach that will use existing 1-d hydrodynamic models to develop indices of inundation for the entire MMR, including the seven refuge divisions. The second phase of this project will use 2-d hydrodynamic models (e.g., HEC-RAS2D or SRH-2d) to simulate exchange of floodwater with the floodplain at Wilkinson Island, a floodplain conservation area that has physical processes and management opportunities common to much of the MMR.


  • Investigator: Garth Lindner, Post Doctoral Research Associate
  • Project Supervisor: Dr. Craig Paukert
  • Funding:US Geological Survey, Science Support Partnership
  • Cooperators: Jason Wilson, USFWS; John Remo, Southern Illinois University; Robb Jacobson, Ed Bulliner, USGS, CERC
  • Location: USFWS Middle Mississippi River national Wildlife Refuge
  • Expected Date of Completion: September 2020