Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

SUGAR RIVER 

Cone flowers in bloom in the Sugar River RRA, photo by Mike Jeffords, INHS Sand deposited by the wind after the last glaciation formed dunes and ridges aloong the Sugar River. The dunes and ridges were eventually stabilized by forest and prairie vegetation. Sugar River is a migration route for birds; over 150 species have been banded at the bird-banding station in Colored Sands Bluff Nature Preserve.

Map of Site
Land Cover Map of Site

 

SIZE: 15,144 acres 23.7 square miles

LOCATION: North-central Illinois bordering Wisconsin; Winnebago County.

The Sugar River RRA is characterized by a wide, wooded riparian corridor of floodplain forest and upland woods. It is the smallest RRA. The Sugar River area is along an important bird migration route and provides habitat for several unusual amphibians and reptiles.

LANDCOVER: The predominate landcover type is cropland (45%), followed by grassland (33%). This site has the second highest percentage of grassland among the RRA's. The site is 18.5% wooded (8% upland and 10.5% bottomland forest). The percentages of bottomland woods and nonforested wetlands are relatively high, but the total acerages are low, reflecting the site's small size.

NATURAL AREAS: The Sugar River Natural Area occupies 20% of this RRA. A small prairie is the only other Natural Area in this RRA.

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS: The Sugar River RRA has 4.5 miles of biologically significant streams.

HERITAGE SITES: Twenty-four Heritage Sites occur in this RRA. There are three significant community types, 12 plant species, and four animal species.

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND: There is no state or federal land in this RRA.

NATURE PRESERVES: There are two Nature Preserves in this site. Natural features include bluffs, sand savanna, and prairie.

NATURAL DIVISIONS: This site lies in the Rock River Hill Country (84%) and Northeastern Morainal (16%) Divisions.


SUMMARY OF SITE CHARACTERISTICS: SIZE, BIOLOGIC RESOURCES, AND PUBLIC LANDS 

Total Acreage 15,144
Natural Areas
    Acreage
2,993
    Number
2
Biologically Significant Stream Mileage 4.5
Natural Heritage Sites 24
State Land
    State Parks
0
    State Conservation Areas
0
    State Forests
0
    State Fish & Wildlife Areas
0
    Acreage
0
    Percentage of RRA
0.0
Federal Land
    Acreage
0
    Percentage of RRA
0

LANDCOVER Acres % of RRA
Upland forest 1,208.87 7.98
Bottomland forest 1,581.98 10.45
Wetland- nonforested 424.10 2.80
Grassland 4,979.97 32.88
Cropland 6,803.81 44.92
Urban/Built-up 16.86 0.11
Water 129.46 0.85
Total 15,145.05 99.99

 


ILLINOIS NATURAL AREAS INVENTORY SITES Acres
Shirland Railroad Prairie 4
Sugar River 2,989

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS Miles
Sugar River, Otter Creek 4.5

NATURAL HERITAGE CATEGORIES
Communities Occurrences Types/Species
Lake 1 1
Prairie 2 2
Threatened and Endangered Animals
Mammal 1 1
Threatened and Endangered Plants
Plant-Dicot 11 7
Plant-Monocot 2 2
Plant-Fern/Fern Ally 3 3

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND Acres
State Parks 0
State Conservation Areas 0
State Forests 0
State Fish and Wildlife Areas 0
Federal Land 0

 


ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES Acres
Colored Sand Bluff 56
Sugar River Alder Site 167


NATURAL DIVISIONS Acres in RRA % of RRA % of Division
Rock River Hill Country 12,675 83.7 0.8
Norteastern Morainal 2,470 16.3 0.1




Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820
217-333-6880
cms@inhs.illinois.edu

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