Chautauqua Refuge Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project

Rock Island District

Illinois River, Miles 124 - 130, Mason County, Illinois, Congressional District: IL - 18


  • U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources (ILDNR)


Both Upper and Lower Lake Chautauqua are important links in the chain of resting, feeding, and wintering areas for migratory waterfowl and certain endangered species (the bald eagle and peregrine falcon) along the Mississippi Flyway. Prior to construction, sediments introduced to the lakes by Illinois Waterway flood events have decreased depths and degraded local water quality. The soft, flocculent lake bottoms were not conducive to the establishment of submergent and emergent vegetation necessary to support fish and waterfowl populations.  Water level control was very limited due to the break in the cross dike levee and the poor condition of the perimeter levee.

Quick Facts

  • Approximate Acres: 3940
  • State(s) Covered: IL
  • Land Ownership: USFWS
  • Management Agency: USFWS
  • Management Authority: Refuge


  • Construct a 41,000-gpm pump station designed to service the Upper and Lower Lakes
  • Construct stop log water control structure (Lower Lake)
  • Replace existing radial gate water control structure (Upper Lake)
  • Raise the elevation of the existing cross dike and Upper Lake perimeter levee
  • Excavate 19,000 feet of drainage channels (Lower Lake)
  • Construct a submerged side channel entrance stone closure structure
  • Construct boat ramp and access road for management access to Upper Lake


  • The Definite Project Report was completed in June 1991.
  • Construction was initiated in May 1992 and completed in December 2003.
    • Stage I:   DACW25-92-C-0079 was awarded in October 1992.
    • Flood damage studies were completed in 1996 and 1997.
    • Stage II:  DACW25-97-C-0036 was awarded in September 1997.
    • The USFWS completed construction contract(s) to upgrade the levee system around the lower lake, and to include 2 overflow spillways (1999).
    • Stage III:  DACA25-00-D-001-004.
    • Stage IV:  DACW25-01-C-0013 was awarded in August 2001.
    • Monitoring to assess biological response to construction or project features was initiated in 1991 and continued through 2002 with collection of fisheries and vegetation data, as well as aerial waterfowl surveys. 
  • The Operation and Maintenance Manual was completed in April 2005
  • The initial Performance Evaluation Report was completed in 2005. 
  • Performance monitoring continues.