U.S. Department of Defense



Date of this Version



Published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2008) 1-2


Cottonwood trees are essential to the preservation of the mighty bald eagle along the Missouri River. Bald eagles come to the Missouri River to nest, to
rest during migration and to roost over the winter. Eagles prefer to nest, rest and roost in cottonwood trees because they are sturdy enough to support large nests and are located in areas with plentiful food sources. To survive and reproduce, cottonwood trees require certain levels of soil moisture and nutrients, which historically were provided regularly by the Missouri River’s floods.

The symbol of our country and the only sea eagle native to North America, bald eagles live along the entire length of the Missouri River. They have wingspans between six and seven feet and have been known to live up to 28 years. Bald eagles infrequently change mates and will return to the same nest year after year.