Division of Conservation Planning
Midwest Region

See the Conservation Management Plan

A conservation management plan, the precursor to the comprehensive conservation plan, was completed for Cypress Creek NWR in 1997. The plan is provided here in portable document format, and you will need Acrobat Reader to view them. Acrobat Reader is available as a free download from Adobe.

Full CMP (4.3 MB)

See the Plan by Chapter

Introductory Material (363 KB)
Plan Summary (36 KB)
Contents (57 KB)
Chapter 1: Introduction (242 KB)
Chapter 2: The Planning Process (173 KB)
Chapter 3: Resource Description (373 KB)
Chapter 4: Refuge Goals and Objectives (687 KB)
Chapter 5: Public Use Program (594 KB)
Chapter 6: Plan Implementation (125 KB)
Appendices (1.6 MB)


About the Refuge

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge was authorized June 26, 1990 under the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986. The primary purposes of the Refuge are:

  • to protect, restore, amd manage wetlands and bottomland forest habitats in support of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan
  • to provide resting, nesting, feeding and wintering habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds
  • to protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats
  • to provide for biodiversity
  • to protect a National Natural Landmark
  • and to increase public opportunities for compatible recreation and environmental education.

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge Conservation Management Plan

Summary of the CMP

Your National Wildlife Refuge -- Get Involved!
A Vision for Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge
The Cache River Watershed
The Conservation Plan
Resource Protection
Habitat Restoration
Resource Management
Dynamic Partnering
Environmental Education
Wildlife-Dependent Recreation and Interpretation

Your National Wildlife Refuge -- Get Involved!

Active community participation will be vitally important to successfully developing the Refuge. We invite you to learn from this plan and from first-hand experiences -- more about the Refuge, its purpose and prospects, and to become involved with a vision of wildlife, natural landscapes and quality of life for people in southern Illinois.

A Vision for Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Few wild places exist in North America today that exhibit such a wide diversity of flora, fauna, and geomorphic conditions as the Cache River Basin in southern Illinois. Moreover, few such areas have withstood, at least partially, the ongoing onslaught of humanity's attempts to "tame" the land. Still fewer wild places have the opportunity to return from the brink of elimination. Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, located in the heart of the Cache River Basin, is one of the remnants of a uniquely diverse environment that can, to a large extent, be returned to a functioning ecosystem.

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge will someday be a 35,000 acre contiguous tract of land pieced together by connecting remnants of cypress-tupelo swamps, oak barrens, button bush groves and vast stands of bottomland forests. The foreseeable future is one of preservation, acquisition of land, reforestation, intensive management, and people enjoying the bounty of this rare resource.

Wildlife abundance and high quality facilities will attract thousands of visitors each year. Partners will collaborate to provide a wide range of environmental programs and activities. Local communities will enthusiastically identify and promote the area as a regional tourist destination that contributes to economic development and enhances the quality of life in southern Illinois.

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The Cache River Watershed

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge isolated within the 475,000 acre Cache River Watershed -- a truly unique physiographic area. Four physiographic provinces joining in the Cache River Watershed include:

Plain Seven federally listed and 102 state listed endangered or rare species are found within the watershed area -- many of these in the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge.

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The Conservation Plan

The CCP for the Refuge strives to protect the natural habitats and wildlife while providing a place for people to enjoy. Many people, from local businesses to farms, from area schools to rural communities, from special interest groups to government agencies helped create the plan for the future of Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge. The plan serves as a management tool to be used by Refuge staff and partners over the next 15 years. Six goals were established to guide conservation activities, funding, and implementation of the Comprehensive Conservation Plan. They are described in the following sections.

Resource Protection

A safe haven for threatened and endangered species, a reserve for migrant and resident wildlife, an archive for historic landscapes and archeological sites. Significant resources of the refuge will continue to be protected through on-going land acquisition, baseline environmental studies and monitoring.

Habitat Restoration

Extensive forests, lush wetlands, springs and healthy swamps are features that will be restored to the natural landscape of the Refuge as a place rich with wildlife, natural communities and opportunities for people to enjoy.

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Resource Management

Through active management a rural area with diverse development will include a healthy balance of farms, forests, bottomlands and associated wildlife. Management within programs -- will enhance the Refuge and allow people to continue to hunt, fish, observe wildlife and find areas of isolation within Illinois' bayou.

Dynamic Partnering

Partners — citizens, agencies, nonprofit and for profit organizations, schools, and communities form the foundation and the building blocks of the Refuge. This cooperative approach will be extended to new partners to combine resources and create a powerful network of people who will contribute to the Refuge's success.

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Environmental Education

The honking of geese is heard in the distance as a group of students stroll along a meandering boardwalk. They watch cricket frogs crisscross their path, discover a water snake camouflaged in the duckweed and marvel at a 1,000 year old cypress tree towering overhead. These first-hand experience and interdisciplinary activities will foster in students ecological awareness, knowledge and responsible action. The Wetlands Center will be a starting point for many of these experiences and visitor programs.

Wildlife-Dependent Recreation and Interpretation

A close-up view of a 1,500 year old bald cypress, the yellow flash of prothonotary warblers, the rich smell of the swamp or a glimpse of an otter will provide local residents with memorable experiences they never know existed in "their own backyard." Activities and facilities will be developed to help people observe and photograph wildlife, hike, hunt and experience the Cache River wetlands first-hand.

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Last updated: January 13, 2011
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