Oakwood Bottoms Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project

St. Louis District

Upper Mississippi River, Miles 73.0-84.0, Jackson County, Illinois


  • US Forest Service 


The U.S. Forest Service owns and manages the Oakwood Bottoms as part of the Shawnee National Forest. It is one of the largest contiguous bottomland hardwood tracts in the Middle Mississippi River Corridor (MMRC). The project area consists of oxbows, sloughs and wetland swales which provide a complex of permanent water, seasonal emergent wetlands and scrub/shrub wetland habitat surrounded by bottomland hardwood forest habitat. On the west side of the project area lies the 3,700 acre Oakwood Bottoms Greentree Reservoir (OBGTR) which provides forested wetland habitat for migratory wildlife and other aquatic species.

The Project Area is unique to the Middle Mississippi River landscape, however, the hydrology and wetland functions of this landscape have been greatly modified. Before USFS ownership what was once bottomland hardwoods and wetlands was cleared, leveled, and ditched for agricultural purposes. Today, manmade ditches bisect the landscape and continue to rapidly drain the floodplain. As a result, the natural water table is lowered and many historic ephemeral wetlands have been degraded or eliminated.

The proposed project goal is to restore the natural ecosystem functions of Oakwood Bottoms as a site within the Mississippi River Floodplain.

Quick Facts

  • Approximate Acres: 13,500
  • Congressional District: IL-12
  • State(s) Covered: IL
  • Land Ownership: Federal
  • Management Agency: USFS
  • Management Authority: Refuge

Potential features of the proposed Project may include, but not limited to:

  • Installation of twentry-five water control structures
  • Construction of four 5,000 GPM deep-well pump stations
  • Enhancement of 62,000 linear feet of wetland berms
  • Removal of 10,000 feet of low berms to connect sub-impoundment areas
  • Excavation of 62,000 feet water delivery berms
  • Reforestation of 4,000 acres
  • Provide 10,000 GPM dewatering portable pump with diesel power unit
  • Reforestation of 300 acres of emergent and scrub/shrub wetland habitat


  • Revised Fact Sheet approved: 2016
  • Feasibility study underway