Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge is in west-central Illinois, just north of the town of Meredosia, about 50 miles west of Springfield. Located along the Illinois River, the refuge was established in 1973 to provide sanctuary for wildlife.
Land management programs here are improving migratory bird, fish and resident wildlife habitat in the Illinois River basin. When acquisition is complete, the refuge will include 5,225 acres of a backwater lake, bottomland forest, upland forest, prairie, seasonal wetlands and permanent marsh habitat. As a functioning floodplain wetland complex, the refuge will play a vital role in perpetuating biological diversity in the Illinois River basin. The refuge is part of the Illinois River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, with headquarters at Chautauqua Refuge, in Havana, Illinois.
The Meredosia refuge is managed to provide habitat required to meet the needs of migatory waterfowl and shorebirds, along with wintering Bald Eagles and breeding floodplain forest birds.
More than 200 species of birds have been documented on the property, with more than 100 seen in a single day.
Dabbling ducks including American Wigeon and Gadwall, often numbering in the thousands at certain times of the year, feed in agricultural fields and congregate in open water.
Large concentrations of American White Pelicans, sometimes 300 or more, use the backwater lake during spring and fall migration, some of them remaining through the summer.
Refuge staff drains water from moist soil units in late June or early July to provide shorebird and wading bird habitat. Dowitchers, peeps, yellowlegs, sandpipers and plovers feed in these areas, along with Cattle Egrets and other waders.
The refuge protects habitat for nesting and wintering Bald Eagles. The refuge also restored 100 acres of prairie habitat for grassland and shrubland birds including Lark Sparrow.
Floodplain forest breeders include Pileated and Red-headed Woodpeckers. The refuge also hosts a large population of breeding Eurasian Tree Sparrows.
This site was chosen as an IBA because it met the criteria for Waterfowl. (5425)
Acquisition and restoration are under way. Upon completion, the refuge will include a combination of high-quality backwater lakes, bottomland forest, upland forest, prairie, seasonal wetland and permanent marsh habitat for migratory birds, fish, and resident wildlife. As a functioning floodplain wetland complex, the Refuge will play a vital role in perpetuating biological diversity in the Illinois River basin. As restoration, continues, habitat percentages are unspecified and constantly changing.