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Fireworks and wildlife don’t mix

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The 4th of July, a time typically filled with grilling out, going on the boat, being outdoors, or fireworks. But what's fun for some might not be fun for others.

It's easy to overlook the wildlife in the area on this weekend says Visitor Services Manager at the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge Hallie Rasmussen. Fireworks are often seen as threatening or scary to resident wildlife in the area.

"Those loud fireworks can scare them or remove them from their habitat, cause them to run into roads and things like that," said Rasmussen. "Things like bald eagles might be scared out of their nests and sometimes in research that's been done, they won't return to that area."

For this reason, the possession and shooting off fireworks are not allowed on the federal Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge land. This includes most of the shoreline, beaches, and islands on the Mississippi River between Wabasha, MN, and Rock Island, IL said the refuge. The best thing to do before you head out on the river is to check the maps here or the ones displayed at most boat landings in the area.

The Upper Mississippi Refuge also wants you to know that glass is illegal on their federal land. Their best recommendation is to put it in a separate, non-glass cup beforehand.

Extra federal law enforcement will be out and about this upcoming weekend to make sure people are following the laws. If you violate the no firework or no glass policy on protected federal lands, it could cost you a couple hundred dollars.

The refuge wants you to use the hundreds of miles of land we have in this area, and wants you to "recreate responsibly."

"Enjoy it but respect the wildlife because that's why it's here and it's so beautiful," said Rasmussen.

Warren Sears

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