By Jason Beverlin
Deputy Director of the Illinois River Program
February 2009 — Winters in central Illinois seem to stretch on forever, but it does give us plenty of time to get ready for spring. The restoration staff at Emiquon typically spends the winter months doing levee maintenance and working on removing invasive trees. At nearby Spunky Bottoms, we’ve already mowed about 55 acres of invasive cottonwood trees, and we’ve cut trees on a half-mile stretch along the levee at Emiquon. This helps us restore the land to the prairie that once dominated Illinois.
We’ve also worked with the Illinois Natural History Survey and the Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center to estimate how many snow geese have swarmed to Thompson Lake. It is quite a sight—we think there’s about 125,000 snow geese at Emiquon right now! With so many of them in one place, it looks like there’s a living sandbar stretching across the lake, and their noisy “whuk whuk” sounds fill the air.
Don’t forget that we are participating in a science symposium on March 12 at Dickson Mounds Museum, where we will discuss some of the results of our winter planning. If you’re interested in attending, please register through the University of Illinois.