Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge is located at the confluence of the Spoon and Illinois rivers just west of the town of Havanna in west-central Illinois. It was established December 29, 1993 with the purchase of its first 284 acres. Derived from an Indian name for ?spoon,? Emiquon refers to the historic plethora of freshwater mussels within this region of the Illinois River, the shells of which were used as spoons by early Native Americans. Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge represents a massive effort undertaken by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other partners in restoring and managing native habitats throughout the backwaters and floodplain of the Illinois River. Historically, the middle reaches of the Illinois River's floodplain supported a vast mosaic of clear, shallow lakes, sloughs, bottomland hardwood forests and tallgrass prairies. The refuge is being assembled to protect, restore and manage migratory bird, fish and other wildlife habitat in the Illinois River Valley.
Various raptors including the Bald Eagle along with numerous migratory waterfowl use Emiquon for rest and foraging. Aerial waterfowl surveys have shown more than 5,000 Mallards, 6,500 Canada Geese, 2,000 Canvasback and 3,000 Ring-necked Ducks. Grassland birds such as Henslow's and Grasshopper Sparrows use the Emiquon region for nesting. During migration, myriad neotprical songbirds find shelter and food at the preserve.When fully restored, Emiquon will provide quality backwater lake, bottomland forest, upland forest, prairie, seasonal wetland, and marsh habitat for migratory and breeding birds, with some acreage retained for agricultural crops for wildlife.
This site was chosen as an IBA because it met the criteria for Waterfowl, Pied-billed Grebe, and Black-crowned Night-Heron.
Habitat percentages are based on completely restored and managed Emiquon Refuge. They will include bottomland and upland forests, emergent wetlands, sedge meadows, prairies, lakes and croplands.