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Rice Lake, IL Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project

Rock Island District

LaGrange Pool, Illinois Waterway, Miles 132 - 138, Fulton County, Illinois




Rice Lake is a 6,800 acre backwater complex located 24 miles southwest of Peoria, Illinois, in Fulton County.  The project lands are state owned and are managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (ILDNR) as a fish and wildlife area.  Increased flood and sedimentation levels have resulted in degradation of what has historically acted as excellent mid-migration waterfowl and aquatic habitat.   The lack of reliable and flexible water management capability over half of the project area severely limits its effectiveness in providing feeding and resting habitat for the 2.7 million annual waterfowl use days. Habitat degradation also has negatively affected the other migratory and resident species using the facility.  The project goals are to enhance wetland, aquatic, and floodplain terrestrial habitat. Reestablishing the Hate Levee and installing a pumping facility for Big Lake would increase reliability and flexibility of water level management.  Habitat would be improved for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and other wetland species that utilize the area.  Structures for fish passage and escapement would protect aquatic habitat and maintain connectivity with deep water areas.  Restoration of native grasslands and mast tree species would enhance habitat for numerous floodplain species.

Quick Facts

  • Approximate Acres: 6800
  • Congressional District: Illinois - 17
  • State(s) Covered: Illinois
  • Land Ownership: State of Illinois
  • Management Agency: ILDNR
  • Management Authority: State Conservation Area

Project Features

  • The project includes the following:
    • constructing a perimeter water control structures and installing one gatewll structure;
    • providing water control capability by constructing a pump station and excavating a discharge channel;
    • installing two reinforced concrete fish egress structures, one between Rice Lake and the quarry on Duck Island, and one between Goose Lake and the Illinois River
    • enhancing floodplain habitat by planting 352 acres of mast producing native trees and 57 acres of native herbaceous plants on Duck Island.
    • Fill in low areas along the bankline to serve as a natural spillway.
  • The Stage I contract included clearing and grubbing, discharge channel excavation, water control structures, overflow spillway embankment, natural spillway repairs, reinforced concrete outlet structure, pre-cast concrete box culvert, reinforced concrete discharge structure, reinforced concrete pump station and wing walls, masonty pump station control building, submersible pumps, motor control center, stone protection, mechanical dredging, and seeding.


  • The Definite Project Report was completed in March 2011.
  • The Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) was signed in July 2011
  • The Stage I Construction Contract  (W912EK-11-C-0090) was awarded in September 2011 and construction began in 2012.
  • Spring flooding in 2013 delayed construction and caused some damage.
  • The project was near completion when a record flood occurred in the summer of 2015, delaying construction completion.
  • Pump repairs, from the record flood, were completed in 2017.