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TWI lands a whopper with special fishing season

It was a warm morning on Tuesday, September 1, with the sun rising over Hennepin & Hopper Lakes at about 6:30 a.m. The kiosk by the boat launch was stocked with permit applications and maps, ready for eager anglers. This day was long awaited by many: the reopening of public fishing at TWI’s Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge after Hennepin & Hopper Lakes had been closed for several years to address an invasion of common carp.

TWI wades into Illinois River Conference

The Wetlands Initiative had a role in sessions covering both conservation and outreach at this year’s Illinois River Conference in Peoria on October 27–29. 

First farm-based wetland built during ‘ground-breaking’ Conservation Expo

August has been an exciting and ground-breaking month for the Wetlands Initiative—literally! During the week of August 3, 2015, the Wetlands Initiative's senior environmental engineer, Jill Kostel, coordinated construction of the first farm-based wetland designed for nutrient removal in the Big Bureau Creek Watershed in north-central Illinois.

BioBlitz finds nearly 700 species at the Dixon Refuge

On June 13 and 14, TWI held its first-ever “BioBlitz” to survey biodiversity at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in north-central Illinois. Guided by more than 30 scientists and expert leaders from across the state, participants recorded 675 species at the site over a 24-hour period, including many that were previously unknown at the Refuge or unusual for the area.

Marquis Energy ‘powering’ completion of new Refuge trail

Thanks to a $100,000 gift from Marquis Energy, LLC, in Hennepin, Illinois, TWI will be able to complete a significant new trail at the Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge. When finished in 2016, the 2.7-mile Marquis Oak Ridge Trail will open the Refuge’s interior to the public for the first time and more than double the site’s existing trail system.

Dixon Waterfowl Refuge gains additional acreage, new habitats

The Wetlands Initiative has acquired a 417-acre parcel to expand its Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in north-central Illinois.

Demolition before restoration: Tackling a new area of Midewin

Through a major ongoing partnership with the National Forest Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service, the Wetlands Initiative is doing significant restoration work this year within a new area at the Forest Service’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie called the South Prairie Creek Outwash Plain.

New Oak Ridge project moves forward at Dixon Refuge

Key work items have begun and TWI is already seeing progress on the 27-month Oak Ridge Trail and Restoration Project at our Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, which began in May 2014.

UIC engineering students help TWI design farm-based wetland

In spring 2014, a team of three students from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Engineering helped design a farm-based wetland to capture nutrient runoff for TWI’s project in the Big Bureau Creek Watershed in north-central Illinois. The students turned the opportunity into their senior design project, while the partnership allowed TWI to complete a needed initial engineering design at no cost.

Oak Ridge project will mean new habitat, trails to explore at Refuge

The Wetlands Initiative will begin a new project at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge in 2014 that will restore rare oak savanna habitat and more than double the existing trail system, allowing visitors to access and explore the interior of the 3.5-square-mile site for the first time.

Mission Statement

The Wetlands Initiative is dedicated to restoring the wetland resources of the Midwest to improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and reduce flood damage.