Reconnecting the Illinois River to Emiquon
The Nature Conservancy is working to build a new water control structure that will create a managed connection between its Emiquon Preserve and the Illinois River. This structure will help restore more natural water levels critical for sustaining Emiquon's high-quality wetland plant communities. These wetlands aid in water filtration, sequester carbon and provide food and habitat for an abundance and diversity of wildlife.
Currently, Emiquon's wetland habitats are not accessible to fish and other aquatic life in the Illinois River. This connection is also important because it will allow the exchange of aquatic life and water between Emiquon and the Illinois River, providing access to high-quality habitats needed for reproduction, feeding and wintering, as well as water filtration.
Without this connection, Emiquon does not fully function as a floodplain wetland that could help reduce floodwaters in the Illinois River and process sediments and nutrients from the river's water.
Explore the graphic above to learn how Emiquon's gate will function.