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Cypress Creek
National Wildlife Refuge

bullfrog in water with duck weed
0137 Rustic Campus Drive
Ullin, IL   62992
E-mail: cypresscreek@fws.gov
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.
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Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is located in southernmost Illinois, within the Cache River Watershed. The refuge was established in 1990 under the Emergency Wetlands Resource Act of 1986 to protect, restore, and manage wetlands and bottomland forests that provide habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds, resident wildlife, and endangered and threatened species.

Currently, the refuge protects 15,000 acres, with the vision of a 35,000-acre contiguous tract of land connected by remnants of cypress-tupelo swamps, oak barrens, and vast stands of bottomland forests. The refuge and surrounding Cache River Wetlands are considered Illinois' Bayou - a large swamp/wetland complex in the Midwest which harbors a rich collection of biologically significant natural communities.

The Cache River and Cypress Creek Wetland was designated a "Wetland of International Importance" (Ramsar site) for its rich diversity of plant and animal communities; it claims some of the oldest living trees east of the Mississippi River and harbors 91% of Illinois' high-quality swamp habitat.

The refuge is a member of a unique partnership to restore and manage the Cache River Wetlands. The Cache River Wetlands Joint Venture which includes the refuge, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ducks Unlimited shares a common goal to protect and restore 60,000 acres along a 50-mile corridor of the Cache River. Wildlife observation, hiking, canoing, and hunting and fishing are just a few of the activities offered at this refuge.

Getting There . . .
Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southernmost portion of Illinois, with lands located in Union, Pulaski, Alexander, and Johnson counties. Take Interstate 57, and exit at #18, Shawnee College Road. Travel approximately 7.1 miles east to the refuge office located on the Shawnee College Rustic Campus, Building D. The refuge is approximately 22 miles north of Cairo, Illinois, and 35 miles south of Carbondale, Illinois.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Cypress Creek Refuge and the Cache River watershed are well known for their biological diversity and outstanding habitat and wildlife values.

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Cypress Creek Refuge is cradled between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers within the Cache River Watershed of southernmost Illinois. The history of the area includes a rich culture of people, their dependence on the Cache, and changes that have occurred to the landscape over the last 200 years.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
The refuge is located along the Cache River. In its pristine state, the Cache River and its associated wetlands and bottomland forests were well known for their outstanding fish and wildlife values. However, over the last century, more than 250,000 acres have been lost to dredging, drainage, and land-clearing efforts.

Today, about 70% of the watershed is devoted to agriculture, while about 4% remains in wetlands. The remaining wetland habitat is threatened by sedimentation resulting from erosion, channelization, and reduced river flows through the Cache.

In an effort to protect what is left of the Cache River Wetlands, the refuge was established to restore and manage bottomland hardwood forests and wetland habitat and provide opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation and education. In coordination with partners, refuge staff strive to restore habitat as soon as land is acquired from willing sellers. This effort includes reforestion and restoring wetland functions and productivity.

Active management programs include fire protection, law enforcement, cooperative farming, water management, cooperative wildlife surveys, hunting, and cultural resource monitoring and research. Management programs are coordinated with the Illinois Department of Natural Resouces within the larger watershed landscape.