The Wetlands Initiative

Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, Illinois

The Lakota Group led a master planning process for the 3,000 acre Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin and Hopper Lakes. This internationally-recognized waterfowl refuge, located 25 miles west of Starved Rock State Park, was drained and farmed for a century before being  restored by The Wetlands Initiative. It now boasts rare wetland habitat and more than 675 species. The Lakota Group worked with The Wetlands Initiative and stakeholders throughout the Illinois River Valley to create a master plan that will encourage public awareness and use of this natural area while preserving and protecting its rare and sensitive habitat. Issues included pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular access, wayfinding, public amenities, and strategies for public outreach and education.