Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

  Restoration of Fish Communities of the Illinois River

Lake Michigan shoreline as seen from near LMBSOnce one of the most productive and diverse systems of temperate river bottom lakes in the world, efforts are being made to restore the Illinois River system. Three areas owned by The Nature Conservancy and The Wetlands Initiative are the focus of restoration. As part of their rejuvenation, managers of TNC and TWI with fish biologists of the Illinois Natural History Survey and Illinois Department of Natural Resources are reintroducing native fish species to these areas.

Over a three-year period, four to six species are being introduced to these areas. Among the current focus species are the Starhead topminnow (Fundulus dispar), Pirate perch (Aphredoderus sayanus), Central Mudminnow (Umbra limi), Lake chubsucker (Erimyzon succetta), Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus), and Grass pickerel Esox americanus).

These species are being stocked directly or indirectly in these lakes over a three-year period. These additional populations will increase fish diversity within the lakes and perhaps increase stability of the entire aquatic community. New populations will help conserve species in the state and monitoring of stocked species may increase of knowledge of their ecology and life history and will demonstrate if this approach can be used to restore large aquatic systems.

The restoration areas are Spunky Bottoms (Brown County), Emiquon (Fulton County), and Hennepin Hopper (Henry County). The locations of all three sites can be seen here.

Updated stocking data can be found here.

This project is being funded through the Illinois State Wildlife Grant Program with funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and matching resources from The Nature ConservancyThe Wetlands InitiativeIllinois Natural History Survey, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources

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The Wetlands Initiative

Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820

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