Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes

The historic, but now rare, Illinois landscape of backwater lakes, wetlands, prairies, fens, and seeps now flourishes on former corn and soybean fields along the Illinois River at the Sue & Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin and Hopper Lakes.

The entrance to the refuge is located two miles south of the Village of Hennepin, off of Route 26.

Now open to the public, the restoration project is one of the first large-scale floodplain restoration projects along the Illinois River. The project was created by and is now managed by the Wetlands Initiative, a nonprofit organization.

For most of the 20th century, the 2,600 acres of river floodplain were drained by farmers seeking to grow corn and soybeans. In 2001, the Wetlands Initiative reversed this destruction by turning off the pumps and beginning ecological restoration. Within months more than 1,000 acres of lakes reappeared, filled only by groundwater and precipitation. Since then restoration efforts have continued and native flora and fauna have exploded at the site.

The Wetlands Initiative
(312) 922-0777

More Information: The Wetlands Initiative