SPRINGFIELDThe Illinois Nature Preserves Commission announced the dedication of two new nature preserves, the registration of two new land and water reserves (including one in Ogle County) and an addition to an existing land and water reserve.
The Ogle County area is Kyte River Bottoms Land and Water Reserve (contact: Kim Roman, 847/608-3100). Owned by the Natural Land Institute (NLI), Kyte River Bottoms is 235 acres near the confluence of the Kyte and Rock rivers, composed primarily of floodplain forest, with upland forest, sedge meadow, savanna and stream habitat also found on site.
The sizable forested floodplain retains many oxbows and seasonal ponds, and is frequently inundated during the Rock Rivers flood stages. The Kyte River Bottoms provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including the state-threatened Blandings turtle. The 1.5-mile stretch of the Kyte River included in the registration is a unique aquatic resource that also provides habitat for the state-threatened river redhorse.
While a breeding bird survey has not been performed, the state-threatened red-shouldered hawk has been observed along with several forest interior bird species. The NLI purchased the property in 2003 with the assistance of a grant from the Illinois DNR Conservation 2000 program.
The nine-member Illinois Nature Preserves Commission assists public and private landowners in protecting high-quality natural areas and habitats of endangered and threatened species.
Illinois now has dedicated 321 nature preserves in 79 counties totaling 43,382 acres, and has registered 108 land and water reserves in 50 counties totaling 33,789 acres.