Milan Bottoms Preserve

When the Natural Land Institute (NLI), the oldest land trust in Illinois, purchased this property in 2008, with help from many partners. The plan was to sell the property (via a bargain sale) to the Illinois DNR. This would provide access to 2,500 acres of public land to the north. Sale proceeds would go toward the next preservation project. That was the year that our now jailed governor swept every possible fund (including DNR’s land acquisition fund) leaving NLI holding this property.

2010 birds eye view of the Milan Bottoms Preserve.

2010 birds eye view of the Milan Bottoms Preserve.

Located 150 miles away in Rockford, IL, local partners were needed to steward this land. Initially the Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District took up the torch which was passed a few years ago to River Bend Wildland Trust.

In 2011 shallow water wetlands were excavated at the southern portion of the property and in early 2012 prairie was seeded in the surrounding areas.

cpr map

The southern portion of the property was enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) as practice CP-9 (shallow water wetland)

Trees have been planted and replanted, pruned and weeded. Volunteers and staff alike work to keep invasive plants at under control while making sure new new plants and desirable seed make it into the soil.

man and boy plant tree

A limited harvest in early 2010 of cottonwood and silver maple made a great planting opportunity for oaks, hickories, sycamores, walnuts, and pecans.

The wet spring of 2012 gave way to drought. This meant some of the initial seeding needed help. Interns planted several hundred plugs of native wetland plants into the wet prairie in the summer of 2016.

The wet spring of 2012 gave way to drought. This meant some of the initial seeding needed help. Interns planted several hundred plugs of native wetland plants into the wet prairie in the summer of 2016.

 

 

Summer 2016 interns celebrate finishing the killing of reed canary grass.

Summer 2016 interns celebrate finishing the killing of reed canary grass.

At some point in the future NLI will likely deed the property to River Bend, but not until this local land trust is stable and well supported by the community. NLI has been a huge supporter of conservation in the Quad Cities in the past. Working with NLI, we hope to permanently conserve more land in the region. We cannot do it without community support. Both organizations have “donate” buttons on their Facebook pages and websites. We look forward to new friends. Keep an eye on the Milan Bottoms Facebook page for upcoming activities.