Illinois River sites restrict access due to flooding

April 20, 2013 at 05:18 PM
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will make a decision Monday on the possible closing of Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area due to forecast record flooding on the Illinois River.

Due to the rapidly changing nature of conditions along the Illinois River, visitors should call ahead to be sure sites are open for use.

Doug Jallas, site superintendent for the Sanganois SFWA, Banner Marsh and Rice Lake, said visitors should call (309) 647-9184 for more information.

With record water levels forecast at Havana, more than a foot above the 1943 record of 27.1 feet, managers of wildlife areas are making spot decisions about access and events.

According to the National Weather Service, the Illinois River was at 21.21 feet at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The River is forecast to reach a high of 28.5 feet at Havana by mid-week.

On Friday, The Nature Conservancy said its Wetland Observatory visitor access area for The Emiquon Preserve in Fulton County would not be available for Mother Earth Day activities scheduled for today.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also announced it would be unable to open its levee for a driving tour of the Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge, one of the activities planned for Earth Day.



Here is more information about access restrictions from the Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges:



Chautauqua NWR:

*South Pool levee is closed from Eagle Bluff Access Area to the south spillway (access from the headquarters to the south water control structure is open at this time)

*Access to osprey nest is closed

*Access to the North Pool Boat Ramp and cross-dike area is closed.

*Boat access to the South Pool remains open at this time.



Emiquon NWR:

*Oxbow and Wilder parking areas are closed.

*Access to Forgotten Road Area (via township road) is flooded and not recommended for travel.

*Visitor information racks have been removed from most areas to prepare for flooding

Please visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Emiquon/visit/rules_and_regulations.html for rules and regulations for Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge.



Meredosia NWR:

*Beach Road, as well as the boat ramp on Beach Road, is closed.

Township roads used to access the refuge may be flooded or closed.