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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

The Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program

Long Term Resource Monitoring

Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station

Upper Mississippi River Restoration - Environmental Management Program U. S. Army Corps of Enineers

(map) Field stations

Lake City Field Station La Crosse Field Station Bellevue Field Station 
Havana Field Station
 Pool 26 Field Station Open River Field Station

The Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station (BRWFS) was established on January 2, 1991, the last field station added to the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (LTRM). It is the only field station located on the unimpounded (open) reach of the Upper Mississippi River.  Today there are six personnel that conduct research on fish, wildlife, vegetation, and water quality.

Current staff includes the Field Station Supervisor, David Herzog who began his career in 1991 as the field station’s LTRM Fisheries Component specialist. He then became LTRM Fisheries component leader and later Large River Ecologist.  Mr. Herzog has a Master’s of Natural Science degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Quinton E. Phelps joined the Missouri Department of Conservation as Systems Ecologist in 2010. He received a B.S. and M.S. in wildlife and fisheries sciences from South Dakota State University in 2003 and 2006, respectively. Quinton earned his Ph.D. degree in Zoology with a specialization in fisheries science from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2011. Quinton’s research focuses on basic and applied research to answer important management questions. Specifically, his research has focused on natural resource ecology with primary interests in population dynamics, animal movement patterns, life history attributes, trophic ecology, and stable isotope technology. Ultimately, Quinton’s research will focus on merging ecological theory across disciplines (e.g., forestry, fisheries, wildlife) to thoroughly understand large river ecosystem dynamics on broad spatiotemporal scales.

Frank Nelson is a Wetland Ecologist and has a Masters of Fish and Wildlife Sciences degree from University of Missouri-Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree from William Jewell College. Frank works closely with wetland and waterfowl biologists across the state. His focus is utilizing research and technology to enhance wetland management and wetland restoration.

Sara Tripp, Large River Ecologist, has a Masters of Zoology/Fisheries Ecology and Management; a B.S. from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, and an Associate degree from Shawnee Community College.  Sara develops research on large river fish population demographic data (i.e. age, growth, mortality, home range) to assist river managers in making policy decisions.  Her responsibility includes examining recreational and commercial fisheries of Missouri’s large rivers for management and sustainability.    

Staff Scientist, Dave Ostendorf, has worked in various capacities for the LTRM at the field station and now works statewide on many large river issues; his position is funded by MDC.  Mr. Ostendorf curates a large image collection for the BRWFS (especially Missouri fishes), and has a Bachelor’s degree from Southeast Missouri State University.

LTRM Fisheries staff scientist is Mr. John West.  John has a Master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.  John supervises a LTRM hourly employee during principal sampling times.  In addition to long-term fish community monitoring, John’s research interests include the biology of large river fishes.

LTRM Water Quality staff scientist is Ms. Molly Sobotka.  Molly has a Master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor’s degree from Washington University.  Molly supervises a LTRM employee during principal sampling times.  Molly’s research emphasis includes long-term water quality monitoring, river metabolism, (primary productivity and community respiration), and abiotic and biotic interactions.

BRWFS staff is currently supervised by Dr. Rochelle Renken, Field Station Unit Chief, from the Resource Science Division in Jefferson City.

BRWFS staff is involved in a variety of activities encompassing research, management, planning, and education programs. The primary responsibility of BRWFS staff is to carry out the conservation mission of the Missouri Department of Conservation relative to the state’s large rivers, including the contractual obligation with the LTRM.  Field station staff collects fish, wildlife, vegetation, and water quality data along a 50-mile stretch of the Middle Mississippi River, approximately 25 miles north and south of Cape Girardeau. Since 2003, the responsibilities of the BRWFS have become statewide, thus field station staff conduct monitoring and research projects on all of Missouri’s big rivers and wetlands in all regions of the state.

The location of the BRWFS at the lower end of the Upper Mississippi River and the upper end of the Lower Mississippi River is important because data collected and information provided by BRWFS staff are used by both upper and lower river biologists. As a result of this, the BRWFS continues to garner strong support by Upper Mississippi River, Lower Mississippi River, Missouri River, universities, US Fish and Wildlife, USGS, Corps of Engineers, and non-governmental agency personnel spanning multiple disciplines.

Field Station Directory – Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station


David Herzog, Field Station Team Leader
Telephone: 573-243-2659 ext. 1046
Fax: 573-243-2897

Missouri Department of Conservation
3815 East Jackson Boulevard
Jackson, MO 63755

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