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  Illinois River Bluffs Ecosystem Partnership   

The Illinois River Bluffs area is faced with ever-present challenges in balancing the area’s economic dependence on the Illinois River with the necessity of maintaining this essential water resource. This area is economically driven by both agriculture and industry, both of which significantly affect the Illinois River.

Over time, the impact of modern agriculture and river commerce has changed the face of the river. Industrial farming and the ensuing use chemical deposits and erosion have affected water quality. Channelization has affected both water quality and the riparian corridor as increased boat traffic creates bank-eroding waves and keeps sediments suspended in the water. Additional concerns stem from the effects of urbanization, as development in the greater Peoria area increases concerns over storm water runoff down the steep hills of the river bluff .

These concerns about one of Illinois’ greatest water resources prompt present-day analyses and mitigation plans to preserve this valuable resource for future generations.

Unique Features and Resources
Encompassing the Peoria Wilds Resource Rich Area, the area’s deeply dissected bluffs and hills separate the river from inland agricultural areas. Some of the area’s resources include:

  • More than 25 threatened or endangered plant and animal species;
  • 24 designated natural areas;
  • One of the largest remaining oak woodland areas left in the state;
  • Significant native habitat areas including wetlands, forests, prairies and savannas

Notable Sites in the Area
Detweiller Woods, Forest Park, Robinson Park Hill Prairie, Savanna and Spring Bay Fen Nature Preserves, and Illinois River State Fish and Wildlife Area.

About the Partnership
The partnership formed in 1996, brings together a common interest in improving the natural resources of the area, primarily through addressing concerns in watershed stabilization, ecosystem restoration and urbanization. The group’s stated purpose is to assess and improve the natural resources in the Illinois River Bluffs and River ecosystems, using consensus to encourage voluntary actions and to increase appreciation of the link between people and the natural world.

Current Projects Include

  • Planting filter strips on 25 demonstration sites to show bluff-top residents the benefits of controlling storm water runoff.
  • A project to restore Oak Bluff Prairie to Nature Preserve quality.
  • An education project to inform landowners on storm water control methods.



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