The Fourth of July is right around the corner, but the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge would like to remind visitors that fireworks are not allowed on its refuge.
“As we enjoy the bright colors and thunderous explosions, it’s easy to overlook the impact to wildlife around us,” the Refuge said in a news relief.
The abrupt lights and sounds are seen as a threat to nesting bald eagles and startle great blue herons and other nesting birds.
The shock of fireworks, meanwhile, can cause wildlife to flee, leading them to unexpected areas or roadway and even abandoning nests. Litter from firecrackers, bottle rockets and other explosives can be choking hazards for wildlife and possibly toxic if ingested.
Federal law enforcement officers will be patrolling the Refuge looking for fireworks as well as glass bottles, which are also banned on Refuge beaches.
The Upper Mississippi Refuge includes most islands and beaches on the Mississippi River from Wabasha, Minnesota to Rock Island, Illinois. A map is available https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Upper_Mississippi_River/map.html for those unsure if they are within the refuge.