SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan today announced the state's acquisition of more than 2,000 acres in Madison County, which will become part of the Confluence Greenway, a 40-mile area extending from St. Louis to Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton.
"This acquisition is a major step in our efforts to create the Confluence Greenway and enhance the Mississippi River corridor area," Gov. Ryan said. "We are preserving open space in the heart of an urban area for the benefit of our children and future generations, which is what the Open Land Trust Program is all about."
The land was acquired for $2.8 million through the Governor's Open Land Trust Program, a four-year, $200 million initiative to acquire property for conservation, natural resource protection and recreation purposes. It is the largest acquisition program in the history of the state. The Trust for Public Land and the Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development Inc., contributed another $500,000 to the acquisition.
The Confluence Greenway is a 40-mile riverside recreation and conservation area on both banks of the Mississippi River, extending from the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis to
Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton. The greeenway will offer unprecedented access to the waterfront for walking, biking, fishing, birdwatching, riverwatching and much more. The project will restore and protect environmentally sensitive land, plants and wildlife habitat, while helping to keep our rivers clean, control flooding and reduce storm runoff.
"Completion of the acquisition of Mosenthein Island and all the remaining private property on Gabaret Island is a cornerstone of the Chouteau Island project," said Department of Natural Resources Director Brent Manning. "Enhancement of the habitats will benefit migratory waterfowl, shorebirds and fish populations. The site will also provide recreational opportunities in the region."
Chouteau Island is a complex of three Mississippi River islands, including Mosenthein and Gabaret, located between the main river channel and the Chain of Rocks navigation canal just north of downtown St. Louis. Extensive portions of this 5,600-acre area are owned by public agencies, including IDNR, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Madison County.
To date, the Governor's Open Land Trust Initiative has resulted in the state's acquisition of more than 25,750 acres for needed open space, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, forest restoration and protection from development. In addition, more than 3,400 acres of open space are being acquired by local governments through the Open Land Trust grant program.