Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Vermilion River Observatory

A 200 ha (495 acres) mostly forested property. There are about 110 acres in agricultural (leased for row-crops) and mowed ground, 90 acres in various old-fields and successional stages, and about 277 acres in more mature, second growth forest. The forest is an eastern deciduous mix and much more species rich than that of our other "prairie grove" type woodlands. Much of the area had a grazing background and the wooded areas were timber harvested in the early 1900's. Two deep ravine systems dissect the land with a maximum topographical change of about 150 ft. There are at least a half dozen seeps in the ravines and there are several steep north facing and south facing slopes. There is also access to part of a 15 acre, old, river oxbow pond. This area is in the Vermillion River drainage system and has a number of plant, insect, and vertebrate species not found at other UI Natural Area sites. There are two earthen flood control dams in one ravine. A complete plant species census was conducted for the site in 1996-'97. An office building has been refurbished and is available for use as a wet lab, seasonal researcher housing, and classroom use. A shop building could also be cleaned up for storage and shop use. Located about 40 miles east of the UIUC campus (4 miles SE of Danville). Partial fencing and remnant fencing. Vehicle access. Agricultural ground across a road on the east with woods and scattered housing around the other sides.

First parcels acquired in 1959 by the UI Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) to build a 400 ft radio telescope. Radio telescope research ceased at this site about 1980. This site has been jointly supervised by UI Natural Areas and ECE since 1996. Contact the coordinator for further information on usage guidelines and maps.

Location: Most of the W 1/2 of section 36 and most of the SE 1/4 of section 35 of Danville township and the NW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of section 1 of McKendree township, all of Vermilion Co. The 911 address for the site is 13589 S. Union Rd. About 5 miles SE of Danville, IL.


Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820

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