Lost Flora Fen Expansion

NLI is pleased to announce that we closed on 357 acres on June 15, 2021 and are the proud new owners of this land that will expand Lost Flora Fen, protect one and half miles of Raccoon Creek and provide access from Yale Bridge Rd. in northern Winnebago County.

Thank you to Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and others for providing $1.5 million in grants and to all of you who gave to our recent fundraising campaign to fill the gap of $200,000. We met our goal and we’re so grateful to all of you for your support.

This property, adjacent to Natural Land Institute’s Lost Flora Fen, is a key acquisition identified in the NLI Raccoon Creek Watershed Protection Plan. It is identified as a “Critical/Sensitive Area” for “Priority Acquisition” in the Greenways Plan for Boone and Winnebago Counties and is also identified in the Strategic Land Conservation Plan of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. The property is located on Yale Bridge Road, west of Williams Tree Farm.

Raccoon Creek

Approximately 1.5 miles of Raccoon Creek meanders through the property, fed on site by a number of seeps and springs. It is part of a watershed that begins well north of the Illinois-Wisconsin border and drains into the Pecatonica River after going through the Nygren Wetland Preserve.

Bird Population

Over 100 species of birds are known to utilize the habitat north of Yale Bridge Road, including many grassland and wetland birds. Some of the many species include warblers, nesting Bobolinks, Sandhill Cranes, Barred Owls, and Alder and Willow Flycatchers.

Plant Communities

There is a wide range of plant communities present at this unique property, from forest to wetland. Like the adjacent Lost Flora Fen, several of the plant species are threatened, endangered or rare.

Dragonflies, Butterflies, Bees and Bugs

To date 38 species of dragonflies have been identified at the adjacent Lost Flora Fen. One of those species, the Band-winged Meadowhawk, is classified as “imperiled in the state because of rarity, with only 6-20 individuals recorded.”  Butterflies found at the neighboring Lost Flora Fen total 33 species, including the Silver-bordered Fritillary and the Dion Skipper. Twenty species of insects have been identified, including the Broad-winged Bush Katydid, as well as several bee species including the Half-black Bumble Bee.

Thank you so much for doing your part to protect the quality of preserved land in Winnebago County and provide habitat for all the creatures, big and small!

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