The Coulee Region


Gundersen Health System is located in the Coulee Region. The Coulee Region is also known as the driftless area (untouched by the glaciers). As a result, we are surrounded by beautiful bluffs. Bluffs form along a river (in our case it is the Mississippi River). Over time, the river wears away the lower part of the river bank, which lessens the support for the upper bank, eventually causing it to break off. This forms high walls on either side of the river that also shapes the bluffs.

Today there is a push to conserve the coulee region area. Why? In recent decades the Coulee region has expanded with many farms and communities along the river. As a result, the wetlands and prairies have been converted into land that supports our population. Before people urbanized the area, the river would inundate (flood) the wetlands, which helped to filter out the water and keep it clean. Because there are few wetlands left today, the river is not filtered out as much, resulting in it being dirty. Levees, although important for preventing flooding, also prevent rivers from reaching the wetlands. Because of the large amount of farmlands in the area, many farm chemicals get into the water. This not only affects the land but it also affects the marine species.

Due to the many threats facing the coulee region area, groups are working to conserve the bluffs and the native wild life. Refugee for fish is also continuously being built to protect the marine species. If the bluffs are not protected the wildlife will suffer along with the many plants and trees that keep the environment thriving.

At Gundersen Health System we recognize the importance of protecting the environment. A healthy environment results in healthy communities. Through our Envision program we invest our time and resources in sustainability projects that will not only benefit our organization but the area around. Interested in learning about our projects? Check out our website:, or better yet attend one of our sustainability series seminars!


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