By Jason Beverlin
Deputy Director of the Illinois River Program
July 2007 — For the first time in 83 years, we have canoers at Emiquon!
When Emiquon was converted to farmland in the early 1920s, water was pumped out of the plains so that it could be farmed. Now that we’re managing the pump, we can create and maintain a functioning floodplain. Over the last few months, we’ve been stocking native fish in the waters here. Twenty-one species of fish have been introduced thanks to our partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and a grant from Dynegy helped us install 260,000 trees. We’ve already proven that we can manage beautiful places. Now we’re proving that we can restore a system.
Emiquon is an unusual site for The Nature Conservancy because we’re designing it not just with nature in mind, but also people. That means that there will be hiking trails as well as a lot of collaboration with neighboring Dickson Mounds and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The first phase of the wetland area has been constructed, and a parking lot and boardwalk are now available for our visitors. The Grand Victoria Foundation has generously given us a $90,000 grant for a visitor use plan. We invite you to visit Emiquon as it continues to grow, both as a preserve for nature and wildlife and as a place for people to respect and enjoy.