Two weeks after the tour with Bill Douglas and Bill Kapitko, I returned to Rice Lake to see how it was doing without flood waters saturating the land.
Someone has marked trees along the road leading to Copperas Landing, presumably to be removed.
Green carpeted the floors where just 2 weeks ago water was standing. Farther out where mudflats were exposed, a flock of pelicans rested.
At the Voorhees Unit, green carpeted the bottomland forest floor. You can see by the high water line on the trees just how deep the water had been in this area for the past several years.
I wanted to take a photo of the field where Decurrent False Aster grew several years ago before the high water inundated the area. I parked at the entrance of the Copperas Creek Walk-in Unit. However, as soon as I rounded the bend, I saw an IDNR truck and realized I was blocking their way. As I walked back to my car, a black contractor's truck stopped. The driver told me I needed to move my car, which I was on my way to do. He said he and his team were surveying the area for the Army Corps of Engineers proposed project to revamp the area. I was intrigued. I parked my car well out of the way, and decided to walk out to the Narrows Dam, which I had visited by boat with Bill Douglas and Bill Kapitko just two weeks ago.
As I walked down the path from the road, I spotted a stray Decurrent False Aster. It is a state threatened species, and I am glad to find even a small sample of it after the years of high water the area has endured.
The water marks on the trees along the path to the Narrows Dam showed how high the water had been before it was released two weeks ago.
The surveyors had parked their vehicles out on the levee leading to Slim Lake, where the Corps of Engineers plan to build a canal from a pumping station that they want to build to replace the existing pumps in returning water to the area in the fall.
I continued walking out to the dam. The canal that I traveled by boat two weeks ago is just as beautiful from the levee road I was walking to the Narrows Dam.
You can clearly see how high the water had been for so long by the lack of leaves on the lower half of the Button Bushes growing between the canal and the levee path.
A Monarch butterfly posed for me on some blooming Smartweed.
A Common Buckeye butterfly spread open his wings on the path.
Large numbers of Great Blue Herons flew along the edge of Hoaxie Ridge. There were 12-15 herons in all.
The path ends at the Narrows Dam. From there I could see former Peoria Mayor Bud Grieves's windmill and the chimney belching water vapor at Duck Creek power plant.
A family of Wood Ducks swam in the canal near the opening to Rice Lake.
A flock of American White Pelicans were gathered far out on the lake.
A few of them flew over my head, but it was hard to get a decent photo since I was using the mono-pod. It kind of went flying up in the air as I attempted to track the birds. It's a good thing no one was around to get wacked!