Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is along the Illinois River near U.S. Highway 24 south of the Peoria/Pekin area in central Illinois. This wildlife area contains a floodplain lake surrounded by floodplain forest. The state purchased 2,370 acres here in 1945 to create a waterfowl refuge. Nearly 9,000 more acres were later added. An extensive habitat management program creates resting and feeding places for thousands of migratory ducks and geese. Each year the lake is drawn down and aerially seeded with high quality moist soil plants to provide food to attract waterfowl as they migrate.

Ornithological Summary

Depending on water levels, the Rice Lake region supports varied numbers of migratory dabbling and diving ducks, geese, shorebirds and American White Pelican. Some typical migratory shorebirds include Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers.

Floodplain forests attract breeding Red-headed Woodpecker, Prothonotary Warbler, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Pileated Woodpecker and American Redstart.

This site was chosen as an IBA because it met the criteria for Shorebirds.


The site is generally level to sloping topography with sandy to clay alluvial soils. The plant communities are representative of wet and wet-mesic bottomland forest dominated by silver maple and cottonwood. Mudflats and shallow water areas contain mostly smartweed. Waterfowl fields contain corn, millet and buckwheat.

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