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: Banner Marsh SFWA, Peoria and Fulton Counties  ( 2782 )


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Banner Marsh SFWA, Peoria and Fulton Counties
« : October 25, 2008, 04:49:32 PM »
Originally the property that is now Banner Marsh consisted of several bottom-land lakes connected by channels to the Illinois River. Interspersed between the lakes, known then as Kelsey, Slim, Murry, Long and Scotts, were low ridges of land covered by a heavy growth of bottomland timber. In 1910, a drainage district was organized. The Banner Marsh area of the river's floodplain was drained and leveed, enclosing about 4,500 acres. The levee broke in 1926 and 1943. It was raised and broadened after the big flood of 1943, and the river has remained on the outside since. Sometime after that, the farmland became a strip mine, destroying any possibility of returning the land to its former configuration as a series of lake connected to the river. The strip mine operated for about 30 years.

Then in 1973, the Illinois Department of Conservation purchased the first parcel of the 6,500-acre area, and 20 years later the Army Corps of Engineers spent 15 million dollars to reclaim it, starting in about 1992. It took about 10 years to do so. During all that time, from 1943 through the rest of the century, the land was in wretched condition.  Now it is a place to see Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Green Herons, Gulls, Terns, Grebes, Geese, Mute Swans, and Kingfishers. Also Red-headed Woodpeckers, Swallows, Flycatchers, Brown Thrashers, and Catbirds are frequently found. I've found Short-eared Owls and Northern Harriers hunting the grounds in the winter.

There are three access points at Banner Marsh, two in Peoria County, one in Fulton County:

Banner Marsh FWA-- East Access (Peoria Co.) 40.5465358,-89.83614

Banner Marsh--Main Gate (Peoria Co.) 40.5378, -89.8615

Banner Marsh: Bell's Landing (Fulton Co.) 40.5174494,-89.8813119
« : February 08, 2010, 07:20:14 AM JaneW »


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