Big Bend State Fish & Wildlife Area South Marsh Restoration
Big Bend State Fish & Wildlife Area is a 2,376-acre area owned and managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The property was drained to facilitate agricultural production prior to IDNR ownership. The wetland habitats at Big Bend SFWA consists of fallow agricultural fields, bottomland forest, emergent marsh, and remnant oxbow backwaters. Project partner Ducks Unlimited will install new water control infrastructure capable of both managing floodwaters and providing the IDNR with active wetland control to promote production of desirable moist soil plants and maintain healthy bottomland hardwood forests.
The project will be beneficial to a wide array of breeding and migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, marsh birds, and other wildlife, further increasing public outdoor recreation opportunities such as bird watching and hunting in a rural area with limited public land access. In a landscape heavily dominated by drained wetlands and row-crop agriculture, flowing Rock River water through healthy wetlands at Big Bend SFWA will also improve water quality and promote floodwater storage just upstream of the Quad Cities.
Photo Credit: Ducks Unlimited
* Project restores natural hydrologic conditions to facilitate improved capture and infiltration of surface water and groundwater recharge