US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District Website


Rice Lake, IL Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project

Rock Island District

LaGrange Pool, Illinois Waterway, Miles 132 - 138, Fulton County, Illinois, Congressional District: Illinois - 17


  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources


Rice Lake is a 6,800 acre backwater complex located 24 miles southwest of Peoria, Illinois, in Fulton County on the right descending bank of the Illinois Waterway.  The project lands are state owned and are managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources 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 and restore wetland, and aquatic habitat. The objectives identified to meet these goals are:

     1. Increase the areal coverage of annual emergent and moist soil vegetation in Big and Goose Lakes during the summer growing season;

     2. Decrease summer water levels to below EL 440 in Big Lake, Goose Lake, and Rice Lake to promote vegetation growth during the summer growing  season;

     3. Increase connectivity between Big and Goose Lakes and the Illinois River during summer drawdowns to reduce fish mortality and avian botulism; and

     4. Increase areal coverage of floodplain forest and wetland vegetation on Duck Island agricultural fields to provide scarce habitat for wildlife.

This project will provide increase water management flexibility and the capability to optimize the quality of quantity of aquatic, wetland, and floodplain habitat with the refuge area.

Quick Facts

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

Project Features           

  • Construct an overflow spillway
  • Spillway access road
  • Installing a pump station will increase reliability and flexibility of water level management
  • A water discharge channel from the pump station
  • Water control structures
  • Overflow and natural spillway embankment
  • A reinforced concrete outlet structure
  • Riprap erosion protection
  • Mast tree/native grass planting on Duck Island


  • The Fact Sheet was approved in April 1987.
  • The Definite Project Report was completed in March 2011.
  • The Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) was signed in July 2011
  • The Stage I Construction Contract  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.
  • In October 2018, all 3 pumps at the pump station shut. A repair contract was awarded in April 2019.