Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

KASKASKIA BOTTOMS 

Maple in fall colors in the Kaskaskia River Bottoms RRA, Photo by Mike Jeffords, INHS A complex of interconnected floodplain forests, wetlands, and flatwoods characterize the Kaskaskia bottomlands. Large, contiguous forest stands are rare in Illinois, and the largest tract in the state is located in this area. Large, unbroken forest is critical for the successful reproduction of many woodland bird species. Declines in population of some neotropical migratory songbirds have been attributed in part to forest fragmentation, which is widespread in the Midwest.

Map of Site
Land Cover Map of Site

SIZE:197,654 acres; 309 square miles

LOCATION:South-central Illinois; Clinton, Monroe, St. Clair, and Washington counties.

The predominant natural features of the Kaskaskia Bottoms RRA are the large tracts of bottomland forest associated with the river and the river itself. The river in this area is fairly wide (up to 100 feet) with a sand, gravel, cobble, and silt substrate.

LANDCOVER : The principal landcover is cropland (58%), followed by bottomland woods (18%). Overall the site is 21% forested. The Kaskaskia Bottoms site ranks first in percentage of bottomland woods and last in percentage of upland forest. Moderate amounts of nonforested wetlands are present.

NATURAL AREAS : Most of the ten Natural Area sites in this RRA are notable for their forest resources.

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS : The upper portion of the Kaskaskia River is designated a BSS stream for 31 miles of its length within this RRA.

HERITAGE SITES : Seven community types, one plant species, five animal species, and three large forest tracts are included in the 28 Heritage sites within this RRA.

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND : State land in this RRA includes the Kaskaskia Fish and Wildlife Area (6,911 acres) and a portion of South Shore State Park (5 acres). Federal land consists of a portion of Carlyle Lake.

NATURE PRESERVES : There are no Nature Preserves within this RRA.

NATURAL DIVISIONS : This site lies entirely within the Southern Till Plain Natural Division.

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

Total Acreage 197,654
Natural Areas

    Acreage

1,681

    Number

10
Biologically Significant Stream Mileage 31.1
Natural Heritage Sites 28
State Land

    State Parks

1

    State Conservation Areas

0

    State Forests

0

    State Fish & Wildlife Areas

1

    Acreage

6,916

    Percentage of RRA

3.5
Federal Land

    Acreage

494

    Percentage of RRA

0.2

 


 

LANDCOVER

    Acres

    % of RRA

Upland forest 6,743.79 3.41
Bottomland forest 35,538.79 17.98
Wetland- nonforested 1,447.51 0.73
Grassland 31,688.60 16.03
Cropland 115,153.10 58.26
Urban/Built-up 4,127.76 2.09
Water 2,944.99 1.49
TOTAL 197,644.54 99.99

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURAL AREAS INVENTORY SITES

    Acres

Baer Brothers Woodlot 25
Eversgerd Flatwoods 53
Freeburg Rod and Gun Club 91
Jackson Slough Woods 184
Lively Branch Woods 70
Lost Creek Marsh 714
New Athens Woods 198
Sipple Slough Woods 196
West End Sportsman's Club Woods 58
Wirth Island 92

 


 

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS

    Miles

Kaskaskia River, Rte 50 to Shoal Creek 31.1

 


 

NATURAL HERITAGE CATEGORIES
Communities Occurrences

    Types/Species

    Floodplain Forest

7 2

    Wetland

1 1

    Forest

10 4
Threatened and Endangered Animals

    Bird

1 1

    Mammal

1 1

    Reptile

2 2

    Mollusk

1 1
Threatened and Endangered Plants

    Plant-Dicot

2 1
Geological Feature
Other

    Forest Block >500 Acres

3 1

 


 

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND
State Parks

    Acres

    South Shore

5
State Conservation Areas 0
State Forests 0
State Fish and Wildlife Areas

    Kaskaskia

6,911
Federal Land

    Carlyle Lake

489

    South Shore State Park - Carlyle Lake

5

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES
None

 


 

NATURAL DIVISIONS

    Acres in RRA

    % of RRA

    % of Division

Southern Till Plain 197,654 100.0 2.8



Illinois Natural History Survey

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

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