National Wildlife Refuge
|19031 E. County Road 2110N
Havana, IL 62644
Phone Number: 309-535-2290
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|Waterfowl such as blue-winged teal feed and rest at the refuge during migration.|
Continued . . . The rich natural resources found along the river attracted and supported a vast Native American culture as evidenced by the numerous archeological sites scattered along the bluffs and floodplain of the river. European settlers went to work in the 1800s transforming the landscape by draining wetlands, plowing prairies, and clearing forests. By 1923, half of the 400,000-acre floodplain was sequestered by drainage and levee districts.
The Chautauqua Levee and Drainage District was organized in 1916 to convert 3,608 acres of wetlands to cropland. Flood damage to district facilities was overwhelming, and the district abandoned their efforts in 1926. In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt established Chautauqua Refuge by executive order. The order authorized the Service to purchase the failed Chautauqua Drainage and Levee District.
In 1958, the late Judge Glen Cameron donated his waterfowl hunting area to the Service to create the Cameron/Billsbach Unit of Chautauqua Refuge, south of Henry. Today, Chautauqua Refuge consists of 6,197 acres (4,488 acres in Chautauqua Refuge proper and 1,709 acres in the Cameron /Billsbach Unit).
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