Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1936 for the main purpose of providing sanctuary for the millions of birds that migrate along the Illinois River. Today, Chautauqua refuge provides sanctuary and breeding ground for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. The refuge has been designated as a Important Bird Area, accepted into the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. The refuge is part of the traditional homeland of the Illinois people, past and present.

Visit Us

Dreamy sunset view from the Chautauqua refuge Nature Trail Overlook.

Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of recreational activities, from birding and wildlife watching to hunting and fishing. Step out onto one of our many viewing platforms to see why the refuge is a regionally and globally Important Bird Area.

Location and Contact Information

      Our Species

      Abundant communities of fish, wildlife and plants live and migrate through the open wetlands, backwater lakes, bottomland forests, savanna bluffs and prairies at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge. The variety of habitats benefit wildlife and sighting are plentiful no matter the time of year.