Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

CHAIN O' LAKES - FOX RIVER

Wetland in the Chain O' Lakes RRA, photo by Mike Jeffords, INHS Because of its glacial history, wetlands are particularly concentrated in northeastern Illinois. A variety of wetland types, such as marshes, sedge meadows, fens, and bogs, support a unique and sometimes rare flora and fauna. Bogs in Illinois are limited to glacial depressions in the northeastern part of the state. Acidic conditions created by the lack of drainage and accumulation of layers of peat support uniquely adapted flora, such as leatherleaf, blueberry, cranberry, ferns, orchids, pitcherplant, sundew, poison sumac, and tamarack.

Map of Site
Land Cover Map of Site

 

Size: 285,844 acres; 447 square miles

Location: Northeastern Illinois; Lake, McHenry, Cook, and Kane counties

The Chain O' Lakes-Fox River RRA encompasses the area of most recent glaciation in Illinois. Significant natural features in this poorly drained area include glacial landforms, natural lakes, and wetlands. Many wetland types are found in this RRA, such as bogs, fens, seeps, and shallow and deep marshes. Some rare species and community types are limited in their distribution to this area of the state. Urban expansion from the Chicago metropolitan region continues to put severe pressure on the natural resources in this region.

LANDCOVER - The predominant landcover in this RRA is urban/built-up (30%). This site has the highest urban/built-up acreage and ranks fifth in percentage of urban-built up area. Twenty percent of this site is wooded and 20% is cropland. Chain O' Lakes - Fox River has the most nonforested wetlands acreage (20,839 acres) and ranks first for percentage of nonforested wetlands among the RRAs.

NATURAL AREAS - This site has the second highest number of Natural Areas. The 72 Natural Areas include bogs, fens, seeps, marshes, sedge meadows, natural lakes, glacial features, and prairies.

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS - The Chain O' Lakes - Fox River RRA has 15 BSS locations, 14 of which are lakes.

HERITAGE SITES - This site has 476 Heritage occurrences, the highest number among the RRAs. There are 23 significant community types, 73 plants species, 23 animal species, and five rookeries in this area.

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND - State land in this RRA consists of two state parks: Chain O' Lakes and McHenry Dam & Lake Defiance. There is no federal land in this site.

NATURE PRESERVES - There are 34 Nature Preserves within this RRA. Principal natural features are bogs, fens, marshes, glacial lakes, sedge meadows, and prairies.

NATURAL DIVISIONS This site is entirely within the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division.


 

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

Total Acreage

    285,844

Natural Areas
Acreage 9,442
Number 72
Biologically Significant Stream Mileage 35.6
Natural Heritage Sites 476
State Land
State Parks 2
State Conservation Areas 0
State Forests 0
State Fish & Wildlife Areas 0
Acreage 5,338
Percentage of RRA 1.9
Federal Land
Acreage 0
Percentage of RRA 0.0

 


 

LANDCOVER

    Acres

    %of RRA

Upland forest

    53,844.17

18.84
Bottomland forest

    3,548.32

1.24
Wetland-nonforested

    20,839.32

7.29
Grassland

    43,652.61

15.27
Cropland

    58,220.21

20.37
Urban/Built-up

    86,778.57

30.36
Water

    18,956.48

6.63
TOTAL

    285,839.68

100.00

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURAL AREAS INVENTORY SITES

    Acres

Algonquin Geological Area 10
Antioch Bog 85
Baker's Lake 207
Barrington Bog 46
Bates Fen 50
Black-crown Marsh *
Boone Creek Fen and Seep 71
Carpentersville White Fringed Orchid Site 1
Cary Junior High Prairie 7
Cary Main Street Prairie 4
Cary Old Water Tower Prairie 50  
Cedar Lake 344
Channel Lake 320
Chicago Junior School Area 23
Cotton Creek Marsh 294
Crabtree Nature Center 601
Cross Lake 22
Cuba Marsh 32
Deep Lake 225
Deer Lake--Redwing Slough 129
Delta Kames 699
Dunn's Lake 62
Elizabeth Lake 229
Exner Marsh 299
Fairfield Road Marsh South 34
Fox River Fen 27
Gavin Bog and Prairie 41
Genoa City Sedge Meadow 126
Gladstone Fen 11
Grass Lake Wetlands 557
Hebron Peatland *
Helm's Woods 83
Hillside Prairie 17
Hollows Conservation Area 37
Intern Seep *
Kettle Moraine 443
Lac Louette 167
Lake-in-the-Hills Fen 147
Lange Road Marsh *
Larsen Prairie 20
Lily Lake 88
Loon Lake 166
Lyons Prairie and Marsh 451
Nippersink Marsh 270
Nippersink Prairie 22
North Branch of Nippersink Creek *
Parker Fen 8
Pistakee Bog 291
Rivers Bend Marsh 5
Roberts Road Fen 24
Round Lake 227
Round Lake Marsh 222
Schreiber Lake Bog *
Ski Hill Prairie 5
Sleepy Hollow 22
Spring Creek Prairie 18
Spring Grove Fen 61
Stanley Road Bog 16
State Line Marsh 15
Sterne's Fen 51
Stickney Run Conservation Area 445
Streets Lake 88
Sun Lake 25
Tower Lake Fen 74
Trout Park 26
Turnberry Fen 40
Turner Lake 140
Veteran's Acres Park 5
Volo Bog 324
Wauconda Bog 623
Weingart Road Sedge Meadow 73
Windance Acres Marsh 93
* = point location, map not available

 


 

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS

    Miles

Bangs Lake 3.3
Cedar Lake 3.1
Cross Lake 0.5
Crystal Lake 3.1
Deep Lake 2.6
East Loon Lake 2.4
Grays Lake 1.3
Lily Lake 1.7
McCullom Lake 2.3
N. Br. Nippersink Cr., WI border to Nippersink Cr 7.1
Round Lake 2.3
Sullivan Lake 1.4
Turner Lake 1.1
West Loon Lake 1.9
Wooster Lake 1.6

 


 

NATURAL HERITAGE CATEGORIES
Communities Occurrences Types/Species
Lake 11 2
Wetland 65 12
Forest 2 2
Savanna 2 2
Prairie 10 5
Threatened and Endangered Animals
Bird 84 15
Fish 33 5
Insect 2 2
Mollusk 2 1
Threatened and Endangered Plants
Plant-Dicot 117 32
Plant-Gymnosperm 9 2
Plant-Monocot 133 39
Geological Feature
Geological Feature 1 1
Other
Rookery 5 1

 


 

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND Acres
State Parks
Chain-O-Lakes 3,669
McHenry Dam & Lake Defiance 1,669
State Conservation Areas 0
State Forests 0
State Fish and Wildlife Areas 0
Federal Land 0

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES Acres
Bakers Lake 170
Barrington Bog 46
Bates Fen 229
Carl&Claire Marie Sands-Main St. Prairie 75
Cary Prairie 7
Cedar Lake Bog 25
Cotton Creek Marsh 252
Elizabeth Lake 99
Exner Marsh 115
Farm Trails North 23
Fox River Fen 8
Gavin Bog and Prairie 103
Glacial Park 446
Gladstone Fen 4
Helm Woods 106
Julia M. & Royce L. Parker Fen 11
Kemper Park 13
Kettle Moraine 281
Kishwaukee Fen 50
Lake-in-the-Hills Fen 184
Lyons Prairie and Marsh 237
Oakwood Hills Fen 11
Pistakee Bog 87
Spring Grove Fen 30
Spring Lake 535
Stern's Fen 196
Tower Lakes Fen 8
Trout Park 18
Turner Lake Fen 86
Volo Bog 151
Wagner Fen 46
Wauconda Bog 67
Weingart Road Sedge Meadow 47
Wingate Prairie 64

 


 

NATURAL DIVISIONS

    Acres in RRA

    % ofRRA

    % of Division

Northeastern Morainal 285,845 100.0 11.6

 




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