PEORIA, Ill. – Feb. 18, 2011
– Ducks Unlimited is planning a new wetland restoration project for Upper Peoria Lake. An announcement and tour of the future restoration site were provided to DU members attending the annual Illinois state convention at the Par-A-Dice Hotel in East Peoria, Ill.
"This project will showcase how wetland habitat restoration along the Illinois River provides a multitude of conservation and economic benefits," said DU Regional Biologist Eric Schenck.
According to Schenck, DU purchased 237 acres on the east side of Upper Peoria Lake in early December. The site includes forested bluff, a wetland fen, bottomland forest and more than 100 acres of restorable wetland habitat that DU is calling "Jenkins Marsh" in honor of the family who sold the land. DU's goal is for the property to be managed as a waterfowl refuge for Woodford County State Fish and Wildlife Area.
Schenck reports that besides the project's benefit to wildlife, it will improve water quality in Upper Peoria Lake by trapping nutrient and sediment run-off from adjacent cropland and tributary creeks. The decurrent false aster, a federally listed threatened plant, has also been observed on the property.
Eventually, DU hopes to designate a portion of the site as a waypoint on the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway to attract visitors and help boost the local economy through nature-based tourism.
DU used nearly $1 million in grant funds from the Grand Victoria Foundation, Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to purchase the Upper Peoria Lake. According to Schenck, more funding will be needed to cover future restoration costs. Previously, DU announced its intention to raise $5 million in private and public funds over the next five years for wetland conservation projects surrounding Upper Peoria Lake.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.