Nature Preserve Area:
Location and Access:
From 2.5 miles east of Meredosia at jct. Hwys. 64 (100) & 104, take Hwy. 67 north 0.7 mile to blacktop road, then turn and go east and northeast 2.5 miles. The nature preserve is south of the road.
Marais d'Osier, meaning willow swamp, was the original French name given to the area in the early 1800's. At that time, the dissected uplands supported both mesic and dry oak-hickory forests, while wet prairies occupied the floodplains and hill prairies dominated the steep, loess covered slopes. Today, Meredosia Hill Prairie remains one of the least disturbed areas within the Glaciated Section of the Middle Mississippi Natural Division. It is characterized by loess covered hillsides and elevations that vary from 600 feet on the ridge tops to 500 feet in the ravines. The vegetation is typical of loess hill prairies with sideoats grama, little bluestem and silky aster predominant. Unusual plants to see are pink milkwort and Hill's thistle. Like most hill prairies, Meredosia is being invaded by woody vegetation. Therefore, current management of the prairie involves the removal of black locust and shrubs and an occasional prescribed burn. This site has a long history of study and observation. The prairie was visited by A. G. Vestal of the University of Illinois in 1931 and was studied by R. A. Evers of the Illinois Natural History Survey beginning in 1949. Evers described this site in the publication Hill Prairies of Illinois which was published in 1955.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
For further information:
Illinois Department of Natural Resources, District Natural Heritage Biologist, 700 S. 10th Street, Havana, Illinois 62644 (309-543-3262).