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Illinois Projects


Jenkins Marsh/VanZelst habitat returning

DU’s Jenkins Marsh/VanZelst Farm project project in Illinois is on its way to becoming an outstanding natural area and fantastic habitat area for ducks that migrate through the Illinois River Valley.

Northeast Illinois Morainal Wetlands Experience

A beautiful day greeted those attending DU's Morainal Wetlands Experience this past Saturday. In addition to learning about wetland and waterfowl ecology, participants in the wetlands experience had the opportunity to visit local DU projects in this unique glaciated area of the state. One of the things that people may find surprising was how similar wetland habitat in Northeast Illinois is to the "prairie pothole" wetlands of the Northern Great Plains and Canada.

DU Project Helps Improve Water Quality in Illinois River

An 83-acre Ducks Unlimited project nearing completion in Woodford County, Illinois, will demonstrate how water quality in the Illinois River, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico, can be improved by restoring wetlands on private lands.Designed by DU biologists and engineers, the project area lies adjacent to the Woodford State Fish and Wildlife Area andwill provide habitat for migrating waterfowl and improve water quality in the Illinois River by trapping excess sediment and nutrients.

Local Ducks Unlimited Project Improves Water Quality in Illinois River

Nov. 11, 2014--Spring Bay, IL—According to Ducks Unlimited and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, a project near completion in Woodford County will demonstrate how water quality in the Illinois River, and ultimately, the Gulf of Mexico can be improved by restoring wetlands on private lands.

DU Submits Grant Proposal for Oakwood Bottoms Habitat Restoration

Ducks Unlimited has submitted a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant proposal for wetland restoration and enhancement work at Oakwood Bottoms, a greentree management area in Shawnee National Forest near Murphysboro, Illinois.

Ducks Unlimited Protects “Wilderness” Wetland

DU board member appointed to foundation

CHICAGO – Jan. 17, 2013 – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has appointed Barbara Johnson to the board of directors of the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF). Johnson, also a member of Ducks Unlimited's board of directors, will serve on the volunteer committee that has raised more than $30 million for conservation in Illinois since its formation in 1994.

Ducks Unlimited congratulates conservation partners on wetland designations

CANTON, Ill. - Aug. 8, 2012 - Ducks Unlimited congratulates the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on the designation of Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Emiquon Preserve as "Wetlands of International Importance" under criteria of the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty committing the United States and other governments to the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

DU receives largest grant ever for Illinois wetlands conservation

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has awarded Ducks Unlimited a $5 million grant to conserve, restore, and protect up to 3,000 acres of vital wetland habitat along the Illinois River. The grant is the largest gift DU has received to date for wetlands conservation in Illinois.

Oakwood Bottoms Project Completed in Southern Illinois

Ducks Unlimited recently completed its latest project at the Oakwood Bottoms greentree reservoir in Jackson County, Illinois.

Illinois: Jenkins Marsh/VanZelst Farm

Ducks Unlimited and its partners have protected 237 acres of land in Illinois as part of the Jenkins Marsh/VanZelst Farm project.

Grand Victoria Foundation to Revitalize Upper Peoria Lake

Almost midway between St. Louis and Chicago and within minutes of downtown Peoria is an ecological treasure—Upper Peoria Lake. Located in the heart of the Mississippi Flyway, Upper Peoria Lake is a historically significant stopover for ducks migrating along the Illinois River and also home to several duck clubs that share a rich tradition of waterfowl hunting dating back more than a century.

Adelman-Schwartz Mola Prairie Wetland Preserve

Blue-winged teal land in a flooded sedge meadow. Big bluestem, Indian grass and other native prairie plants wave in the wind. Nearby, a loggerhead shrike perches on a locust tree, scanning the ground for small rodents or other prey.

DU invests 1 million annually in Ill. conservation

During the past eight years, Ducks Unlimited has significantly increased both its investment in Illinois conservation and its accomplishments of on-the-ground habitat projects. Since 2004, DU has invested more than $1 million annually in its Illinois conservation programs.

2007 to be busy construction year for DU

Several DU projects are “in the queue” for construction in 2007. First up is a major renovation project at Crane Lake at Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area in Mason County. A contractor has been hired for this 1,000-acre project and work will begin as soon as conditions at the site are suitable for construction.

Kaskaskia River sites benefit from DU assistance

In 2002, DU completed the Baldwin Marsh and Wood Duck Management Unit projects at Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Area (SFWA). These projects, completed in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, enhanced 39 acres of wetland habitat.

DU projects top the list in wetlands study

The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) has initiated a multi-year statewide study evaluating moist soil plant production in managed wetland units at key waterfowl areas throughout the state. Two Ducks Unlimited projects, Spring Lake Bottoms and Reily Lake, topped the list of 2005 survey sites in terms of total moist soil plant seed production.

DU Water Quality Initiative assists landowners

Ducks Unlimited’s Illinois River Water Quality Initiative has assisted 25 private landowners in ten counties treat nearly 2,000 acres of cropland. This was accomplished by implementing multi-purpose soil, water and wetland conservation practices that capture storm water run-off, trap sediment and reduce nutrient levels in downstream creeks, rivers and lakes.

Restoration plan complete for Rockwood Island

Approximately 100 acres of wetland and another 170 acres of bottomland forest will be restored along the Mississippi River in Randolph County if Ducks Unlimited is able to fully implement its restoration plan for Rockwood Island.

Forest habitat improvements at Wightman Lake

Several forest habitat improvement projects are underway at Ducks Unlimited’s Wightman Lake property located along the Illinois River near Sparland, Illinois. In 2006, DU worked with Illinois Forestry Consulting to develop and implement a forest management plan to improve habitat for waterfowl, songbirds and other wildlife.

DU working to protect Sagamon River Delta

Ducks Unlimited (DU) is working to protect and restore a large delta where the Sangamon River joins the Illinois River near Beardstown, Illinois. This unique region, covering nearly 30 square miles, contains the largest expanse of undeveloped wetland habitat remaining in the Illinois River valley.

Ohio/Mississippi Confluence Priority Area

This priority area encompasses parts of the lower Ohio, Wabash, and Kaskaskia-Meramec River watersheds, and the Mississippi River. Nearly one third of the nation’s waters drain past the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Rock River Priority Area

The Rock River watershed originates in Horicon Marsh, Wisconsin, and joins the Mississippi at Rock Island. Land use in the majority of the watershed is either livestock operations or crop production that negatively affect the water quality of rivers, streams, and lakes in the watershed.

Illinois River Priority Area

The Illinois River valley is a critical migratory corridor that is also used by breeding waterfowl. The basin drains 28,500 square miles and is home to more than 11 million people. Less than 1% of the prairie remains.

Illinois Conservation Projects

Ducks Unlimited habitat conservation projects in Illinois. These projects benefit waterfowl, other wildlife and people. View sample projects, project map and more.

"Big Muddy Wetlands" Dedication

More than a dozen federal, state and private conservation organizations gathered to celebrate Ducks Unlimited’s purchase of 195 acres of restored wetland habitat along the Big Muddy River in Jackson County, Illinois. Acquisition of the property, referred to as “Big Muddy Wetlands,” represents an important step towards a larger, collaborative goal of restoring and protecting the Middle Mississippi River ecosystem.

Weis Lake Project, Marshall County

Construction of the 328-acre Weis Lake project was completed this spring well in advance of the October 2003 deadline. More than 3,000 tons of rock and fill material were hauled by truck and barge to the construction site as part of this project.

Baldwin Marsh Dedicated, Randolf County

Baldwin Marsh is a 22-acre restoration project along the Kaskaskia River immediately adjacent to the town of Baldwin, IL. Completed in 2002, DU worked closely with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to restore this former oxbow wetland using financial assistance provided by Dynegy Midwest Generation and Martin Marietta Aggregates.

Rollins Savanna Wetlands Restored

Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve is a 1,225-acre natural area characterized by gently rolling topography and a mix of grassland, wetland and oak savanna woodlands. The property was actively farmed for many decades and most of its original wetland habitat had been drained and converted to cropland.

Pecatonica River Wetland

Nearly 300 acres of wetlands and grassland nesting cover along the Pecatonica River were restored on the Winnebago County Forest Preserve during the summer of 2001. The combination of oxbow lake, shallow marsh and native grass uplands will provide ideal habitat for nesting and migrating waterfowl.

Cameron National Wildlife Refuge: Henry, Illinois

Ducks Unlimited engineers have completed survey work at the Weise Lake Project located on the Cameron National Wildlife Refuge near Henry, Il. Final engineering design is expected early this spring. Weise Lake is a flagship project of DU's new Illinois River Program.

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