Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

PEORIA WILDS 

Forest in the Peoria Wilds RRA, photo by Mike Jeffords, INHS The bluffs on the Illinois River near Peoria were a mix of oak woodlands and prairie openings in the early 1800s. One of the largest remaining oak woodland areas in Illinois is found here. The bluffs at Forest Park Nature Preserve provide a good example of the original vegetation, although the area was lumbered in the mid-1800s. White oak and shagbark hickory predominate on the drier, upper slopes and ridges; red oak and sugar maple characterize the lower slopes and ravines.

 

Map of Site
Land Cover Map of Site

Size: 277,847 acres; 434 square miles

Location: Central Illinois on the Illinois River, Peoria area; Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford counties

Peoria Wilds encompasses the floodplain of the Illinois River, deeply dissected bluffs and hills bordering the floodplain, and relatively flat agricultural areas away from the river. A large tract of forest runs along the bluff to the west of the Illinois River. Nonforested wetlands are concentrated next to the river.

Several hill prairies in this area have been included in the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory. The sun-and wind-exposed west and southwest-facing slopes of hill prairies create a harsh environment more suited to prairie than forest. Few hill prairies have been plowed because of their steep slopes, but they are sometimes grazed.

LANDCOVER : Cropland (46%) is the predominant landcover type at this site, followed by upland woods (20%) and grassland (16%). It ranks low in the percentage of nonforested wetland and has moderate bottomland percentages. The relatively high percentage of water is due to the large lakes associated with the Illinois River and floodplain.

NATURAL AREAS : Woodlands, hill prairies, marshes, fens, and seeps are some of the important natural resources in the 24 Natural Areas located in this RRA.

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS : There are no BSS streams in this RRA.

HERITAGE SITES :Of the 51 Heritage sites, nearly half are occurrences of significant communities of wetlands, forest, savanna, and prairie. Six plant species, four animal species, one forest block greater than 500 acres, and one rookery occur in this RRA.

STATE AND FEDERAL LANDS : Four state conservation areas and one fish and wildlife area comprise the state land in the RRA. A unit of the Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge is located here. These public lands are associated directly with the Illinois River.

NATURE PRESERVES : Seven sites are recognized as Nature Preserves. The natural resources includes seeps, fens, hill prairies, and upland forest in deep ravines and on slopes and ridges.

NATURAL DIVISIONS : The natural divisions occurring in the RRA are the Grand Prairie (62%), Upper Mississippi River and Illinois River Bottomlands (30%), and the Illinois River and Mississippi River Sand Areas (7.5%).

 


SUMMARY OF SITE CHARACTERISTICS: SIZE, BIOLOGIC RESOURCES, AND PUBLIC LANDS

 

Total Acreage 277,847
Natural Areas

    Acreage

1,859

    Number

24
Biologically Significant Stream Mileage 0
Natural Heritage Sites 51
State Land

    State Parks

0

    State Conservation Areas

4

    State Forests

0

    State Fish & Wildlife Areas

1

    Acreage

9,570

    Percentage of RRA

3.4
Federal Land

    Acreage

1,589

    Percentage of RRA

0.6

 


 

LANDCOVER

    Acres

    % of RRA

Upland forest 55,789.44 20.08
Bottomland forest 10,384.24 3.74
Wetland- nonforested 1,205.25 0.43
Grassland 44,725.80 16.10
Cropland 128,441.00 46.23
Urban/Built-up 11,740.22 4.23
Water 25,567.61 9.20
Total 277,853.56 100.01

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURAL AREAS INVENTORY SITES

    Acres

Blalock Creek Site 10
Boyds Hollow Woods 41
Brown Run-Billsbach Lake 2
Caterpillar Hill Prairies 10
Cooper Park North 5
County Line Hill Prairie 83
Crow Creek Marsh 47
Detweiller Park 351
Dickison Run Hill Prairie 13
Fondulac Seep 16
Forest Park 502
Grandview Woods 60
Hancher Woods 21
Hopewell Estates Hill Prairie 78
Leigh Woods 41
Marshall County Conservation Area Hill Prairie 53
Mossville Road Hill Prairie 7
Partridge Creek Marsh 5
Robinson Park Hill Prairie 150
Root Cemetery 1
Sparland Unit 17
Spring Bay Fen 57
Springdale Cemetery 253
Wokanda Camp 34

 


 

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS
None

 


 

NATURAL HERITAGE CATEGORIES
Communities

    Occurrences

    Types/Species

    Wetland

6 3

    Forest

6 2

    Savanna

2 2

    Prairie

9 1
Threatened and Endangered Animals

    Bird

5 4
Threatened and Endangered Plants

    Plant-Dicot

20 5

    Plant-Monocot

1 1
Geological Feature
Other

    Forest Block >500 Acres

1 1

    Rookery

1 1

 


 

STATE AND FEDERAL LANDS

    Acres

State Parks 0
State Conservation Areas

    Marshall County

3,232

    Sparland-Marshall County

1,077

    Spring Branch-Marshall County

780

    Woodford County

2,806
State Forests 0
State Fish and Wildlife Areas

    Illinois River

1,674
Federal Land

    Chautauqua NWR Cameron-Billsbach Unit

1,589

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES

    Acres

Bennett's Terraqueous Gardens 3
Detweiller Woods 290
Forest Park 379
Forest Park South 130
Robinson Park Hill Prairies 137
Root Cemetery Savanna 1
Spring Bay Fen 31

 


 

NATURAL DIVISIONS Acres in RRA

    % of RRA

    % of Division

Grand Prairie 172,861 62.2 1.3
Upper Mississippi R and Illinois R Bottomlands 84,094 30.3 7.1
Illinois R and Mississippi R Sand Areas 20,893 7.5 5.4


Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820
217-333-6880
cms@inhs.illinois.edu

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