Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

MACKINAW RIVER 

Canopy covered Mackinaw River, photo by Mike Jeffords, INHS Significant portions of the Mackinaw River and some of its tributaries are considered outstanding aquatic resources in Illinois. The Mackinaw River is characterized by a series of pools and fast riffles flowing over predominantly sand and gravel substrate and by banks which are largely forested. Water quality is high and mussel populations are diverse. Heartleaf plantain, and endangered plant in Illinois, is found here. This species occurs in gravelly streambeds and groundwater seeps and springs adjacent to streams.

Map of Site
Land Cover Map of Site

SIZE: 125,008 acres; 195 square miles

LOCATION: Central Illinois; Livingston, McLean, Tazewell, and Woodford counties

The most significant feature of this RRA is the Mackinaw River and its tributary, Panther Creek. The waters flow clear in a series of pools and riffles over a sand-gravel-silt substrate. The banks are generally forested and the surrounding area is agricultural.

LANDCOVER : Cropland is the predominant landcover (66% of the area); this site has the fourth largest percentage of cropland of the RRAs. The rankings for percentage of upland woods, nonforested wetlands, bottomland woods, and Natural Areas acreage are relatively low.

NATURAL AREAS: There are four Natural Areas in this RRA. The two largest sites are a wooded tract along the river and the Mackinaw River itself. Two small sites include a hill prairie and a geological area.

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS : Three stream segments totalling 27 miles are designated as BSS streams in this RRA, including a 16 mile portion of the Mackinaw River and 8.5 miles of Panther Creek.

HERITAGE SITES : Seven Heritage sites occur in the RRA. One significant community, two plant species, and one animal species are recognized.

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND : The Mackinaw River Fish and Wildlife Area is the only state land. There is no federal land within this RRA.

NATURE PRESERVES : Two Nature Preserves are located in the RRA. Parklands Nature Preserve was established to protect a species of aquatic vegetation in the Mackinaw River and its surrounding forest. Mehl's Bluff is a diverse site of upland and bottomland forest, seep, and creek communities located on a bluff of the Mackinaw River.

NATURAL DIVISIONS : The Mackinaw River RRA lies within the Grand Prairie Division.

 


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

 

Total Acreage

    125,008

Natural Areas

    Acreage

1,139

    Number

4
Biologically Significant Stream Mileage 26.9
Natural Heritage Sites 7
State Land

    State Parks

0

    State Conservation Areas

0

    State Forests

0

    State Fish & Wildlife Areas

1

    Acreage

1,397

    Percentage of RRA

1.1
Federal Land

    Acreage

0

    Percentage of RRA

0.0

 


 

LANDCOVER

    Acres

    % of RRA

Upland forest 12,641.40 10.11
Bottomland forest 1,924.99 1.54
Wetland- nonforested 253.29 0.20
Grassland 24,501.65 19.60
Cropland 82,789.90 66.23
Urban/Built-up 1,672.10 1.34
Water 1,228.53 0.98
Total 125,011.86 100.00

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURAL AREAS INVENTORY SITES

    Acres

Danvers Geological Area 2
Log Cabin Hill Prairie 7
Mackinaw River 484
Parklands Site 645

 


 

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS

    Miles

Mackinaw River, Alloway Creek to Mclean Co. line 15.8
Panther Creek, Rte 24 to Mackinaw River 8.5
unnamed, Mackinaw Twp, Tazewell County 2.6

 


 

NATURAL HERITAGE CATEGORIES
Communities

    Occurrences

    Types/Species

    Prairie

1 1
Threatened and Endangered Animals

    Bird

1 1
Threatened and Endangered Plants

    Plant-Dicot

2 1

    Plant-Monocot

1 1
Geological Feature

    Geological Feature

2 1

 


 

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND

    Acres

State Parks 0
State Conservation Areas 0
State Forests 0
State Fish and Wildlife Areas

    Mackinaw River

1,397
Federal Land 0

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES

    Acres

Mehl's Bluff 27
Parklands 40

 


 

NATURAL DIVISIONS

    Acres in RRA

    % of RRA

    % of Division

Grand Prairie 125,009 100.0 1.0

 



Illinois Natural History Survey

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

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