National Natural Landmark
The National Natural Landmarks Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of the natural history of the United States. It is the only national natural areas program that identifies and recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership; the program was established on May 18, 1962, by United States Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. The program aims to encourage and support voluntary preservation of sites that illustrate the geological and ecological history of the United States, it hopes to strengthen the public's appreciation of the country's natural heritage. As of November 2016, 599 sites have been added to the National Registry of National Landmarks; the registry includes nationally significant geological and ecological features in 48 states, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands; the National Park Service administers the NNL Program and if requested, assists NNL owners and managers with the conservation of these important sites.
Land acquisition by the federal government is not a goal of this program. National Natural Landmarks are nationally significant sites owned by a variety of land stewards, their participation in this federal program is voluntary; the legislative authority for the National Natural Landmarks Program stems from the Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935. The NNL Program does not have the protection features of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Thus, designation of a National Natural Landmark presently constitutes only an agreement with the owner to preserve, insofar as possible, the significant natural values of the site or area. Administration and preservation of National Natural Landmarks is the owner's responsibility. Either party may terminate the agreement; the NNL designation is made by the Secretary of the Interior after in-depth scientific study of a potential site. All new designations must have owner concurrence; the selection process is rigorous: to be considered for NNL status, a site must be one of the best examples of a natural region's characteristic biotic or geologic features.
Since establishment of the NNL program, a multi-step process has been used to designate a site for NNL status. Since 1970, the following steps have constituted the process. A natural area inventory of a natural region is completed to identify the most promising sites. After landowners are notified that the site is being considered for NNL status, a detailed onsite evaluation is conducted by scientists other than those who conducted the inventory; the evaluation report is peer reviewed by other experts to assure its soundness. The report is reviewed further by National Park Service staff; the site is reviewed by the Secretary of the Interior's National Park Advisory Board to determine that the site qualifies as an NNL. The findings are provided to the Secretary of the Interior who declines. Landowners are notified a third time informing them that the site has been designated an NNL. Prospective sites for NNL designation are aquatic ecosystems; each major natural history "theme" can be further subdivided into various sub-themes.
For example, sub-themes suggested in 1972 for the overall theme "Lakes and ponds" included large deep lakes, large shallow lakes, lakes of complex shape, crater lakes, kettle lake and potholes, oxbow lakes, dune lakes, sphagnum-bog lakes, lakes fed by thermal streams, tundra lakes and ponds and marshy areas, sinkhole lakes, unusually productive lakes, lakes of high productivity and high clarity. The NNL program does not require designated properties to be owned by public entities. Lands under all forms of ownership or administration have been designated—federal, local and private. Federal lands with NNLs include those administered by the National Park Service, National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and Wildlife Service, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army Corps of Engineers and others; some NNL have been designated on lands held by Native tribes. NNLs have been designated on state lands that cover a variety of types and management, as forest, game refuge, recreation area, preserve.
Private lands with NNLs include those owned by universities, scientific societies, conservation organizations, land trusts, commercial interests, private individuals. 52% of NNLs are administered by public agencies, more than 30% are privately owned, the remaining 18% are owned or administered by a mixture of public agencies and private owners. Participation in the NNL Program carries no requirements regarding public access; the NNL registry includes many sites of national significance that are open for public tours, but others are not. Since many NNLs are located on federal and state property, permission to visit is unnecessary; some private property may be open to public visitation or just require permission from the site manager. On the other hand, some NNL private landowners desire no visitors whatever and might prosecute trespassers; the reasons for this viewpoint vary: potential property damage or liability, fragile or dangerous resources, desire for solitude or no publicity. NNL designation is an agreement between the federal government.
NNL designation does not change ownership of the property nor induce any encumbrances on the property. NNL status does not transfer with changes in ownership. Participation in the NNL Program involve
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
The Chicago Portage National Historic Site is a National Historic Site in Lyons, Cook County, United States. It is located in Chicago Portage Forest Preserve and the Ottawa Trail Woods Forest Preserve, at the junction of Portage Creek with the Des Plaines River, on the west side of Harlem Avenue on the line of 48th Street. Preserved within the park is the western end of the historic portage linking the Chicago River to the Des Plaines River, thereby linking the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. A memorial depicting the portage of French explorers is located at the parking area. A trail leads from the memorial down into the portage wilderness area; the site commemorates the Chicago Portage, first written about by French explorers Father Marquette and Louis Joliet during their use of the portage and exploration of the area between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. The portage crossed what was known as Mud Lake, which could be wet, frozen, or dry, depending on the season, which has since been obliterated.
Mud Lake extended from the historic western end of the South Branch of the Chicago River to the Des Plaines River at the present National Historic Site. These explorers understood the importance of the easiest crossing of the continental divide between the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean watersheds; the site, designated January 3, 1952 as an "affiliated area" of the National Park Service, is owned and administered by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Visitor access is via Harlem Avenue, just north of Interstate 55; the site contains the parking area, a memorial statue, interpretive signs, trails. Activities here are hiking and canoeing, the Friends of the Chicago Portage sponsors guided walks; the Chicago Portage National Park Service Stateparks.com
Southern Railway (U.S.)
The Southern Railway is a name of a class 1 railroad, based in the Southern United States. The railroad is the product of nearly 150 predecessor lines that were combined and recombined beginning in the 1830s, formally becoming the Southern Railway in 1894. At the end of 1971, the Southern operated 6,026 miles of railroad, not including its Class I subsidiaries Alabama Great Southern Central Of Georgia Savannah & Atlanta Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway Georgia Southern & Florida and twelve Class II subsidiaries; that year, the Southern itself reported 26111 million net ton-miles of revenue freight and 110 million passenger-miles. The railroad joined forces with the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1982 to form the Norfolk Southern Corporation; the Norfolk Southern Corporation was created in response to the creation of the CSX Corporation. Southern and N&W continued as operating companies of Norfolk Southern until 1982, when Norfolk Southern merged nearly all of N&W's operations into Southern to form the Norfolk Southern Railway.
The railroad has used that name since, though N&W continued to exist on paper until 1982. Richmond, York River and Chesapeake Railroad Richmond and Danville Railroad Memphis and Charleston Railroad East Tennessee and Georgia Railway Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway The pioneering South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company, Southern's earliest predecessor line and one of the first railroads in the United States, was chartered in December 1827 and ran the nation's first scheduled steam-powered passenger train – the wood-burning Best Friend of Charleston – over a six-mile section out of Charleston, South Carolina, on December 25, 1830. By 1833, its 136-mile line to Hamburg, South Carolina, was the longest in the world; the company leased enslaved African Americans from plantation owners when free white people refused to work in the swamps. The company purchased 89 people to work as slaves; as railroad fever struck other Southern states, networks spread across the South and across the Appalachian Mountains.
By 1857 the Memphis and Charleston Railroad was completed to link Charleston, South Carolina, Memphis, Tennessee. The Western North Carolina Railroad was halted because voters were angry about that law allowed purchasers of private bonds to have the train tracks veer to their towns; the provision of the laws that allowed this was not repealed until Reconstruction. Rail expansion in the South was halted with the start of the Civil War; the Battle of Shiloh, the Siege of Corinth and the Second Battle of Corinth in 1862 were motivated by the importance of the Memphis and Charleston line, the only East-West rail link across the Confederacy. The Chickamauga Campaign for Chattanooga, Tennessee was motivated by the importance of its rail connections to the Memphis and Charleston and other lines. In 1862 the Richmond and York River Railroad, which operated from the Pamunkey River at West Point, Virginia to Richmond, was a major focus of George McClellan's Peninsular Campaign, which culminated in the Seven Days Battles and devastated the tiny rail link.
Late in the war, the Richmond and Danville Railroad was the Confederacy's last link to Richmond, transported Jefferson Davis and his cabinet to Danville, Virginia just before the fall of Richmond in April 1865. Known as the "First Railroad War," the Civil War left the South's railroads and economy devastated. Most of the railroads, were repaired and operated again. Convict lease was a near continuation of slavery as charges were only applied to people of African descent. Five-hundred African Americans were assigned to provide back breaking labor on the Western North Carolina Railroad. Men were shipped to and from the worksite in iron shackles and around twenty were drowned in the Tuckasegee River weighted down by their shackles. In the area along the Ohio River and Mississippi River, construction of new railroads continued throughout Reconstruction; the Richmond and Danville System expanded throughout the South during this period, but was overextended, came upon financial troubles in 1893, when control was lost to financier J.
P. Morgan, who reorganized it into the Southern Railway System. Southern Railway came into existence in 1894 through the combination of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, the Richmond and Danville system and the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad; the company owned two-thirds of the 4,400 miles of line it operated, the rest was held through leases, operating agreements and stock ownership. Southern controlled the Alabama Great Southern and the Georgia Southern and Florida, which operated separately, it had an interest in the Central of Georgia. Additionally, the Southern Railway agreed to lease the North Carolina Railroad Company, providing a critical connection from Virginia to the rest of the southeast via the Carolinas. Southern's first president, Samuel Spencer, drew more lines into Southern's core system. During his 12-year term, the railway built new shops at Spencer, North Carolina, Knoxville and Atlanta, Georgia and upgraded tracks, purchased more equipment, he mo
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is a tallgrass prairie reserve and United States National Grassland operated by the United States Forest Service. The first national tallgrass prairie designated in the U. S. and the largest conservation site in the Chicago Wilderness region, it is located on the site of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant between the towns of Elwood and Wilmington in northeastern Illinois. Since 2015, it has hosted a conservation herd of American bison to study their interaction with prairie restoration and conservation; the tallgrass prairie reserve is in the central forest-grasslands transition ecoregion of the temperate grasslands and shrublands biome. Midewin remains the only federal tallgrass prairie preserve east of the Mississippi River, where surviving areas of that habitat are rare. With the adjacent Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area and a number of other state and county protected areas in the immediate area, Midewin forms the heart of a conservation macrosite totaling more than 40,000 acres of protected land.
The pre-European settlement vegetation map of Midewin shows most of the site was prairie prior to the arrival of European settlers. The northwestern corner of the site along Jackson Creek was forest. Another small, forested area existed in the extreme southwest corner of Midewin along the Kankakee River and Prairie Creek. Several not-for-profit conservation organizations have played active roles in the restoration of high-quality tallgrass prairie, dolomite prairie, sedge meadows and related communities at Midewin; these include the Wetlands Initiative and the Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy and several other members of the Chicago Wilderness collaborative. The name Midewin is a Potowatomi Native American word referring to the tribe's healers, who it was believed kept the tribal society in balance. Research since the establishment of the park has found evidence of a pre-European–contact village from the Oneota culture in a place on the site called Middle Creek; the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was established by federal law in 1996.
Major proponents of the prairie establishment and restoration included World War II flying ace William J. Cullerton; the Illinois Land Conservation Act created the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, designated the transfer of 19,165 acres of land in Illinois from the U. S. Army to the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service; the Illinois Land Conservation Act mandates that Midewin be managed to meet four primary objectives: To conserve and enhance the native populations and habitats of fish and plants. To provide opportunities for scientific and land use education and research. To allow the continuation of existing agricultural uses of lands within Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie for the next 20 years, or for compatible resource management uses thereafter. To provide recreational opportunities that are compatible with the above purposes; the first land transfer from the Army to the Forest Service took place on March 10, 1997, included 15,080 acres of land, believed to be free from contamination.
Subsequent land acquisitions place the current size of Midewin at about 20,000 acres. In 2015, the prairie approved the use of 1,200 acres to establish a conservation herd of American Bison; the 20-year plan will study the relationship between the historic large grazing animal, which became extinct, prairie restoration and health. In October, a herd of 27 bison were introduced. Four bulls were transferred from the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Fort Collins, 23 cows were obtained from a ranch in Gann Valley, in Buffalo County, South Dakota; this is the first U. S. Forest Service project of its kind. By late spring 2017, births had increased the size of the herd to around 50. After a period of ecological restoration, part of the prairie opened to visitors in 2004. Today, over 7,000 acres of the reserve are open, with public trails for non-motorized recreation; the MNTP headquarters entrance is located near the center of the preserve. Shortgrass prairie Tallgrass prairie United States National Grassland Gensburg-Markham Prairie usda.gov: Text of Illinois Land Conservation Act of 1995 — law establishing Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
US Forest Service site for Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie "A Midewin Almanac", blog covering the restoration of the site The National Forest Foundation: "Restoration and Conservation Plan for Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie" —
Shawnee National Forest
The Shawnee National Forest is a United States National Forest located in the Ozark and Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois, United States. Administered by the U. S. D. A. Forest Service, it consists of 280,000 acres of federally managed lands. In descending order of land area it is located in parts of Pope, Union, Alexander, Gallatin and Massac counties. Forest headquarters are located in Illinois. There are local ranger district offices in Vienna; the Shawnee National Forest is the single largest publicly owned body of land in the state of Illinois. Designated as the Illini and Shawnee Purchase Units, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared these purchase units to be the Shawnee National Forest in September 1939. Most of the land added to the Forest in its first decade of existence was exhausted farmland. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, the Civilian Conservation Corps planted pine trees to prevent erosion and help rebuild the soil. However, the Forest is home to many hardwood trees and other plant and animal species characteristic of the region.
In the 1980s and 1990s, there was an active history of conservation and protest efforts by local and national environmental groups and individuals ranging from radical movements such as Earth First! to mainstream organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Green Party. The wise use movement once played an active role in lobbying for its vision of the Shawnee National Forest. Today a more cooperative atmosphere has developed. In 2006, the Forest Service completed the development of a new Forest Management Plan for the Shawnee National Forest; this plan, adopted every 10–15 years, outlines the policies and practices of the U. S. Forest Service in overseeing the management of the Shawnee National Forest; the 2006 Forest Plan was completed in collaboration with many environmental and public groups and is designed to maintain and enhance the forest's unique biodiversity. During the Illinoian Stage, the Laurentide ice sheet covered up to 85 percent of Illinois; the southern margin of this ice sheet was located within what is now the area of the Shawnee National Forest.
There are many points of interest marking the southern edge of the glacier. Some are located within the Forest boundary, others are on public land in proximity. Little Grand Canyon is located within the Shawnee National Forest; this is accessible off Illinois Route 127 south of Illinois. A small creek with a tiny watershed has carved an impressive rock canyon, more than 200 feet deep, leading down to the Big Muddy River; the southern edge of the ice sheet was just to the north of Little Grand Canyon. Blocks of ice slid off the face of the glacier, carried by enormous volumes of meltwater, to carve this tiny canyon. In the deep shade of the canyon are relict species of Arctic plants left over from its ancient origin. Cedar Lake is an artificial lake formed by damming Cedar Creek; the lake is accessible off Illinois Route 127, south of Murphysboro, off U. S. 51, south of Carbondale. In this area, the Illinoian Glacier climbed the Shawnee Hills at its southern margin; the glacier blocked the waterways flowing north down the hills.
This drainage formed a creek running northwest along the face of the glacier. This became Cedar Creek, the watershed of, asymmetrical. While the watershed extends only a few thousand feet to the south, up the face of the terminal moraine, the creek is fed by waterways extending miles to the south. Within the area of the Shawnee National Forest, but not at this time US property, is Hicks Dome, an igneous feature in Hardin County, Illinois; this was speculated to be the result of a hot spot, but some argue it was caused by a meteorite impact. There are seven designated wilderness areas lying within Shawnee National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Bald Knob Wilderness Bay Creek Wilderness Burden Falls Wilderness Clear Springs Wilderness Garden of the Gods Wilderness Lusk Creek Wilderness Panther Den WildernessThere are three natural vegetation research areas: Cave Hill and Whoopie Cat Mountain Research Natural Areas in the Shawnee National Forest. Shawnee National Forest appeared on the thirty-first quarter in the America the Beautiful Quarters series in 2016.
The Shawnee National Forest was among the best sites from which to view the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 with two minutes 44 seconds of totality. Shawnee National Forest - The official Forest Service site for the Shawnee National Forest
Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge
The Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge is a 11,122-acre wetland wildlife refuge located in Waterford Township in Fulton County, Illinois across the Illinois River from the town of Havana. Only 3,000 acres are owned by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it is in the Central forest-grasslands transition ecoregion. Most of the wildlife refuge is made up of reclaimed agricultural land. A 7,100-acre reclamation project within the Refuge, the Emiquon Project, is operated by the Nature Conservancy, a partner with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the creation of the Refuge. In February 2012, the Emiquon Complex, centering on the Emiquon NWR, was designated under the Ramsar Convention as a Wetland of International Importance; the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge and the Emiquon Project cover the historic beds of Flag Lake and Thompson Lake, which were shallow, alluvial lakes created by the Illinois River during the geological period that followed the last ice age. Heavy loads of sand and silt carried southwest by the river created random, undulating topography along the river's bed.
The river responded to these deposits by shifting its course, leaving long, narrow sections of abandoned riverbed behind it. Two of these sections became Thompson Lake. Surrounding these two lakes, strung out along the western bank of the Illinois River, was a characteristic North American riverine ecosystem characterized by dense populations of shellfish, migratory birds, mammals; the Emiquon wetland became a favorite home for many Indians of the Illinois Territory for thousands of years, leaving 149 known archeological sites behind them within the parcels of land that make up the Project. These hunter-gatherers used and lived in and around both the wetlands of Emiquon and the adjacent river bluffs. During the centuries between 1000 CE and 1300 CE, many of them buried their dead in an adjacent blufftop, now the Dickson Mounds National Historic Site; when new Americans of European ancestry began living along the Illinois River in the late 17th century, they brought several wetland diseases with them, notably malaria.
Local Indian populations declined, the settlers tried not to live in or near wetlands, believing them to be unhealthy places to live. When Fulton County was organized in 1823, the settlers selected a blufftop location several miles away as the county seat. A population of local Illinois River settlers thinly settled the Emiquon riverbank, too wet for traditional European-style farming; the region continued to yield a living to fur trappers and fishermen. However, in 1919 Joy Morton, a wealthy Chicago CEO, acquired the Emiquon area and had a levee built around it and drainage ditches dug. Emiquon became the Norris Farm, the former wetlands and lake beds were drained and converted into cornfields; the free-flowing Illinois River was dammed and confined to a narrow channel running between artificial banks. Much of Emiquon was low-lying and required periodic pumping with electric motors so that the land could remain dry and useful as farmland. Throughout the 20th century, alterations to the Illinois riverbed caused severe damage to the ecological diversity and fish productivity of the river.
Beginning in the 1960s, naturalists lobbied for restoration of parts of the riverbed and former wetlands. After extended negotiations, the Nature Conservancy acquired the 7,100-acre property in 2000. In 2007, the Conservancy enrolled a 6,400-acre parcel within the Project in the federally subsidized Wetlands Reserve Program. By 2008, volunteers working with the Nature Conservancy had replanted 300,000 wetland trees, including black walnuts, swamp white oaks, pecans, 8,000 pounds of grassland seed; the Conservancy believed that the Emiquon Project was the second largest wetlands restoration project in the United States, behind the Restoration of the Everglades. As part of the restoration efforts, drainage pumps were turned off and one of the natural lake beds within the Project, Thompson Lake, began to refill; as of 2008, Thompson Lake was a 2,000-acre lake within the Project. This compares to the lake's original size of 1,800-acre; the reborn lake and adjacent wetlands were attractive to waterbirds, with 17 separate species of ducks reported.
As of 2009, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's long-range master plan for the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge including acquiring the Emiquon Project's land, building out the refuge's 11,122-acre footprint, enrolling the new Refuge into the Illinois River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, managed from the Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge's headquarters in Havana; the Conservancy's long-range master plan for the Emiquon Project, included restoration of the parcel's natural drainage patterns to the maximum extent possible, including reconstruction of a free-flowing connection between the Illinois River and Thompson Lake. As of 2008, the refilled lakes were stocked with more than 30 species of fish, including largemouth bass, bullhead, channel catfish and sunfish. Several dozen fish-eating black-crowned night herons had arrived. In addition to game fish, heritage fish were planted in Flag Lake and Thompson Lake, such as the state-endangered redspotted sunfish and the state-threatened starhead topminnow.
The Conservancy planned to construct welcome facilities to encourage birdwatchers and other visitors to enjoy the reborn wetland. The Emiquon Project's location, within 40 miles of Peoria and adjacent to the established Dickson Mounds museum, was expected to help draw visitors. In April 2008, the University of Illinois at Springfield opened a field station at Emiquon to conduct research and