Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

UPPER WABASH RIVER 

Bluebells in bloom, photo by Mike Jeffords, INHS The transition zone between the beech-maple forests of the eastern U.S. and the prairie and oak-hickory forests of the west occurs on the eastern edge of Illinois. American beech, sugar maple, and tulip trees are common species of the eastern forests. Beech trees are distinctive with their pearl-gray bark and their tendency to occur in clumps as new trees grow from the surface roots of older trees. A mature beech-maple forest is found in Robeson Hills Nature Preserve.

Map of Site
Land Cover Map of Site

SIZE: 170,654 acres; 267 square miles

LOCATION: Eastern Illinois along the Indiana border; Clark, Crawford, Edgar, and Lawrence counties

The Upper Wabash River RRA encompasses the Wabash River mainstem from where it enters Illinois south to just above Lawrenceville, and the narrow band of small tributaries to the river. The Wabash River is wide and slow flowing with sand-gravel substrate in this area. This is one of the last relatively unaltered big rivers in the midwest.

LANDCOVER : This RRA is predominantly agricultural (63%), followed by wooded (22%). Moderate percentages of upland and bottomland woods occur in this site. Nonforested wetlands are not abundant.

NATURAL AREAS : A total of 2,212 acres comprise four Natural Areas. The largest is the 1,929 acre stretch of the Wabash River at Mount Carmel.

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS : A 76-mile stretch of the Wabash River is designated as a BSS stream in this RRA.

HERITAGE SITES : There are few Heritage sites in this RRA. One community type, one plant species, and four animal species are represented by the eight Heritage occurrences in this site.

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND : Part of Lincoln Trail State Park occurs in this RRA.

NATURE PRESERVES : Robeson Hills is the only Nature Preserve in this RRA. It is a remnant upland forest with a beech-maple community as its most significant feature.

NATURAL DIVISIONS : This RRA lies almost entirely within the Wabash Border Division.

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

Total Acreage

    170,654

Natural Areas

    Acreage

2,212

    Number

4
Biologically Significant Stream Mileage 76.4
Natural Heritage Sites 8
State Land

    State Parks

1

    State Conservation Areas

0

    State Forests

0

    State Fish & Wildlife Areas

0

    Acreage

3

    Percentage of RRA

0.0
Federal Land

    Acreage

0

    Percentage of RRA

0.0

 


 

LANDCOVER

    Acres

    % of RRA

Upland forest 30,079.33 17.62
Bottomland Forest 6,753.63 3.96
Wetland- nonforested 415.27 0.24
Grassland 20,958.54 12.28
Cropland 108,361.70 63.49
Urban-Built Up 1,155.08 0.68
Water 2,940.57 1.72
TOTAL 170,664.12 99.99

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURAL AREAS INVENTORIES SITES Acres
Palestine Iresine Site <1
Robeson Hills 279
Wabash River-Mount Carmel 1,929
West Union Site 4

 


 

BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT STREAMS Miles
Wabash River, Clark Co. to White River 76.4

 


 

NATURAL HERITAGE CATEGORIES
Communities Occurrences

    Types/Species

    Forest

1 1
Threatened and Endangered Animals

    Mammal

1 1

    Reptile

1 1

    Mollusk

4 2
Threatened and Endangered Plants

    Plant-Dicot

1 1
Geological Feature
Other

 


 

STATE AND FEDERAL LAND
State Parks Acres
Lincoln Trail 3
State Conservation Areas 0
State Forests 0
State Fish and Wildlife Areas 0
Federal Land 0

 


 

ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES

    Acres

Robeson Hills 108

 


 

NATURAL DIVISIONS

    Acres in RRA

    % of RRA

    % of Division

Wabash Border 156,342 94.0 9.0
Southern Till Plain 7,936 4.8 0.1
Grand Prairie 1,956 1.2 0.0

 



Illinois Natural History Survey

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Champaign, IL 61820
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cms@inhs.illinois.edu

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