SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the state is acquiring the 1,209-acre Duck Island property adjacent to the Rice Lake Conservation Area in Fulton County through his Open Land Trust initiative, providing enhanced natural resource protection and outdoor recreation opportunities.
“This acquisition will assure long-term protection of the island, benefiting waterfowl and other wetland wildlife,” Ryan said. “It will also provide the public with increased opportunities for fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing in this beautiful part of the Illinois River valley.”
The Duck Island parcel is located in the middle of the state’s Rice Lake Conservation Area, between the Illinois River and U.S. Rt. 24, south of Banner..
The acquisition includes 285 acres of recreational land at the northern part of the island, much of which is under water, which will be managed for fishing and hunting. More than 580 acres of the island is farmed for corn and soybean production.
The southernmost portion of the island contains a sand and gravel quarry, which will continue to operate under a five-year lease with Duck Island Sand and Gravel Co.
Duck Island is being acquired from the Commerce Bank of Peoria.
“The acquisition of Duck Island is critically important to managing the duck and goose refuge and public hunting programs at Rice Lake Conservation Area and it’s also important to the waterfowl migrating through the middle Illinois River basin,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Brent Manning.
So far, during the Ryan Administration more than 43,900 acres of open space have been acquired and more than two thirds of it through his Open Land Trust Initiative.