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The Mississippi River and Its Floodplain

Rebirth of a Wetland


When the Conservancy acquired it in 1997, the land at the Merwin Preserve at Spunky Bottoms on the Illinois River in west-central Illinois had been drained and was being used as farmland.


The Conservancy is restoring natural ecological processes and habitats on about 2,000 acres by reducing the amount of water being pumped out of the area, planting prairie and hardwood trees and controlling invasive species. Spunky Bottoms has been transformed into a thriving wetland used by more than 16,000 migrating waterfowl each spring and fall.

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