Wightman Lake Wetland Management Unit
Come visit Wightman Lake Wetland Management Unit in sparland, IL
This 41-acre wetland restoration project was initiated by Ducks Unlimited and then turned over to IDNR. In addition to its benefit to migrating waterfowl, the Wightman Lake project has become a showcase for how naturally functioning ecosystems can be restored on frequently flooded cropland. Tree seedlings were planted across approximately 22 acres and an ongoing research program with The Great Rivers Research and Education Center will monitor populations of Prothonotary Warblers, Red-Headed Woodpeckers and other species of concern. One restoration objective is to re-establish pecan, oaks and other valuable hardwood tree species; promote growth of under-story shrubs and convert the existing riparian forestâ€”now dominated by silver mapleâ€”into an unevenly aged, ecologically diverse bottomland forest attractive to migrating waterfowl and songbirds. A short trail that leads into the wetlands and bottomland forest begins near the parking area off of Route 29.