Plans to construct visitor facilities at the Emiquon Preserve are moving ahead with the selection of Leander Construction as the General Contractor. Construction began this fall to build boardwalks, a canoe launch, boat launch, hiking trails, and observation decks. The new facilities will provide educational opportunities for teachers, students, scientists, land managers and the public at 7,100 acre Emiquon Preserve, located between Peoria and Havana, Illinois. The designs were completed in September by MACTEC Engineering and Consultants and Sutton Studios, and were configured to blend with the unique cultural and natural landscape bordering the Illinois River.
"From wintering bald eagles to blooming native plants in the spring, the experience of Emiquon is something we want to share with our community," said Jason Beverlin, director of the Conservancy's Illinois River Program. "This wetland observatory will certainly make that possible."
A gift from the Hamill Family Foundation supports the construction of the observatories. "The generosity of the Hamill Family Foundation will help build a broad constituency for big river conservation by providing educational opportunities at Emiquon," said Beverlin.
"We are thrilled to be a part of this remarkable project," said Nature Conservancy in Illinois Trustee, Nancy Hamill Winter, on behalf of The Hamill Family Foundation. "Visitors will be able to experience this restoration that holds great promise for the Illinois River and similar initiatives around the world." The new facility is schedules to open in mid-2010.
Emiquon is the premiere demonstration site for the Conservancy's work on the Illinois and Upper Mississippi river systems. Here, the Conservancy and its partners are advancing the conservation of both the Illinois River and similar floodplains around the world through science-based conservation and academic exchanges.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.