UIS & the Nature Conservancy

The UIS – Conservancy Partnership

The Nature Conservancy (a nonprofit corporation with principal offices in Arlington, Virginia) and the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS, one of three University of Illinois campuses) have forged a partnership as the Emiquon ecological restoration project begins.  The Conservancy is the owner and manager of the Emiquon properties, and UIS assists in facilitation of research and provide education on a variety of field biology, ecology, and other pertinent topics.

The Conservancy is filling a unique and active role in floodplain restoration within the Illinois River ecosystem. The Conservancy acquired approximately 8,684 acres in and adjacent to the Illinois River floodplain in Fulton County, Illinois since 1996. They have now begun to restore that floodplain, in a project commonly known as the Emiquon Project.  The restoration of this floodplain and the response of native plant and animal communities to the restored ecological processes and habitats will provide a model for floodplain restoration and conservation in the Illinois River Valley and beyond.  The Emiquon Project will provide numerous opportunities to further science in floodplain river and restoration ecology. It will also help educate people about the multitude of benefits and importance of healthy river systems.

Faculty at UIS are taking a leadership role in conducting research and educational projects at Emiquon.  UIS is planning a new field station building to be completed in Spring, 2007.  The Conservancy will support UIS’s efforts to establish the field station and will cooperate with UIS faculty and administrators in their efforts to obtain the funding needed to equip and run the field station.