Banner Marsh

"People united cannot be defeated" - Governor Pat Quinn

In July 2005, Governor Quinn (then serving as Lt Governor) launched an on-line petition drive on this website to save the natural areas around Banner, Illinois from a proposed strip mine development.

The Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area and Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area - 25 miles southwest of Peoria, Illinois - are vital natural areas that  serve as habitats for the hundreds of American Bald Eagles that use the area each winter, American White Pelicans who rest there during their migration, Great Blue Herons, ospreys and other wildlife.

Governor Quinn joined with the Banner residents and supporters in celebrating the victory to save the Banner Conservation area from a proposed strip mine.  Working together, citizens defeated the mining permit required for the proposal.

The mining plan would have surface mined a 643-acre tract located between the Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area and the Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area, a site less than a mile from the Illinois River.  The people of Banner were concerned that mining operations would drain local wells, pollute water with heavy metals, and rupture the Banner sewage treatment plant infrastructure.  

The Banner Marsh/Rice Lake natural areas offer a range of nature-based tourism opportunities, including bird-watching, hiking, biking, fishing, boating and camping

This area is used each winter by hundreds of American Bald Eagles and is a major rest stop on the migratory flyway of the American White Pelican.  In addition, the site is habitat to great blue herons, ospreys and other magnificent birds and nearby US 24 has recently been declared a national scenic byway by the U.S. Department of Transportation.