National Wildlife Refuge
|0137 Rustic Campus Drive
Ullin, IL 62992
Phone Number: 618-634-2231
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|The refuge protects 15,000 acres of wetlands and bottomland forests, which are home to wildlife such as this bullfrog.|
Continued . . . The refuge lies at a biological midpoint of North America - one of only six areas in the U.S. where four or more physiographic regions overlap. As a result, the refuge is bounded on the west by the Ozark Hills, on the north by the Central Plateau, on the east by the Interior Low Plateau, and on the south by the Gulf Coastal Plain. This mixture of bedrock, soils, and climate provides a diversity of habitats seldom matched in the Midwest.
The area's diverse landscape has created a rich collection of biologically significant natural communities which have earned State, Federal, and international recognition. In 1994, the refuge and Cache wetlands received the prestigious designation of "Wetland of International Importance" because of the crucial role in sustaining waterfowl and shorebirds that use the Mississippi Flyway. The refuge contains a variety of habitats, from streams, rivers, wetlands, swamps, and bottomland forests to dry forested uplands. The signature communities of the refuge include the rich bottomland forests and swamps. Floodplain hardwood forests support the greatest diversity of tree species of any bottomland system in Illinois; oak and hickory are dominant associations followed by cypress, tupelo, sycamore, sweetgum, ash, maple, and willow. Dense stands of giant cane also occur within the bottomland forest, providing habitat for a diversity of neotropical migratory songbirds.
Floodplain forests and wetlands provide essential habitat for fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds. Over 230 species of birds have been catalogued in the area and 200 state listed species are linked to this special habitat type. Cypress and tupelo swamps, with their scattered red maple, button bush, and Virginia willow, are havens for Acadian flycatchers, cerulean warblers, tree swallows, wood ducks, herons, and black vultures. The Cache River and associated swamps provide habitat for river otters, beavers, muskrats, minks and raccoons, as well as a wide variety of frogs, salamanders and snakes.
Upland forests of white oak, sugar maple, poplar and a variety of hickories provide a home to white-tailed deer, foxes, coyotes, and bobcats as well as many species of birds such as the Cooper's Hawk, turkey, woodcock, and bobwhite quail.
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