IBA Home     Contacts     Criteria for Site Selection     IBA Map     IBA Sites     Links     Nomination Form      Technical Committee     TWRA Home

IBA symbol

Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Tennessee
Shelby County

    TWRA symbol

MAVLake/Obion countiesDyer Co.Lauderdale Co.Tipton Co.

Location:  Shelby County is bordered to the north by Tipton County, to the east by Fayette County, to the south by De Soto County, Mississippi, and to the west by Crittenden County, Arkansas.  There are several areas of Shelby County in the MAV on the west side of the Mississippi River. Within the county, the Mississippi River travels 38.5 river miles (river miles 753.7 - 715.2).
Physiographic Area:  PIF 05 (Mississippi Alluvial Valley); BCR 26 (Mississippi Alluvial Valley)

Description: The MAV in Shelby County at its northern border with Tipton County is about two miles wide and follows Chickasaw Bluff No. 3 southwest and then south narrowing to the river bank at the metropolitan portion of Memphis at I-40 for about two miles. South of here to the state line with Mississippi the MAV expands to as much as 9 miles but generally is around 4-7 miles in width. Parts of Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park and Wildlife Management Area, and T. O. Fuller State Park and Robco Lake are in the Eastern Gulf Coastal Plain, but are included here because of their species make-up and affinity to the MAV. Public wildlife lands within the MAV total around 22,975 acres--Eagle Lake Refuge (3,208 acres), Presidents Island Wildlife Management Area (6,300), and Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park and Wildlife Management Area (13,467of which 11,000 is a state natural area). Memphis is the largest city in the MAV and county seat.

Ornithological Importance:  The draw of the MAV in Shelby County, especially in the southwestern section, is outstanding. Included here are the federally and Tennessee endangered Least Tern with one major nesting colony--Densford Bar (see Shelby County summary below and Least Tern Surveys in the Mississippi River for a state-wide summary); raptors including the In Need of Management in Tennessee Mississippi Kite; bottomland species among them the In Need of Management in Tennessee Cerulean Warbler and Swainson's Warbler; wading birds by the hundreds; shorebirds by the thousands (the largest concentration in Tennessee and one of the largest inland sites in the southeast); waterfowl by the thousands; and neotropical migrants and wintering species. Documentation is contained in Eagle Lake Refuge, Ensley Bottoms Complex, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, and the Least Tern Survey site.

Least Tern Survey in Mississippi River
Along Shelby County Border 2001-2005


Number birds
Shelby County
side of river

Number birds
side of river
by Shelby County

Total Birds
Shelby County



Shelby County
Densford Bar - Miss. River
Eagle Lake Refuge
Ensley Bottoms Complex
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park...

Approved under the umbrella IBA site Mississippi Alluvial Valley:
  February 2006--Yes 7  No 0

This page was last updated on 02/18/06.