By Jason Beverlin
Deputy Director of the Illinois River Program
May 2008 — After a long winter in central Illinois, spring has been that much more remarkable, and that much more welcome. Trees are budding, birds are singing, and even the occasional coyote and otter have been spotted. And we’ve been busy out in the field — with the help of a biology class from the University of Illinois – Springfield, we’ve planted about 50,000 trees, and we continue to do prescribed burns to give the land the fire it needs to thrive. A few weeks ago, we counted at least 70,000 birds, making Emiquon a popular spot for migrating waterfowl.
As I was standing on the ridgeline the other day looking out over Thompson Lake, I noticed something I’d never seen before: just beyond Thompson Lake, I could see Flagg Lake, the smaller of the two lakes on the Emiquon Preserve. Thompson Lake has grown tremendously in just the past six months; last fall, it was about 600 acres of water, and now it’s more than tripled in size to 1,900 acres. That’s 1.7 billion gallons of water! Both our lakes are getting larger and supporting more and more wildlife, which is wonderful news when you consider that just one year ago these waters were corn and soybean fields.