Description - Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is located in southernmost Illinois, within the Cache River Watershed. The refuge was established in 1990 under the Emergency Wetlands Resource Act of 1986 to protect, restore, and manage wetlands and bottomland forests that provide habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds, resident wildlife, and endangered and threatened species.
Currently, the refuge protects 15,000 acres, with the vision of a 35,000-acre contiguous tract of land connected by remnants of cypress-tupelo swamps, oak barrens, and vast stands of bottomland forests. The refuge and surrounding Cache River Wetlands are considered Illinois' Bayou - a large swamp/wetland complex in the Midwest which harbors a rich collection of biologically significant natural communities.
The Cache River and Cypress Creek Wetland was designated a "Wetland of International Importance" (Ramsar site) for its rich diversity of plant and animal communities; it claims some of the oldest living trees east of the Mississippi River and harbors 91% of Illinois' high-quality swamp habitat.
- Cypress Creek NWR is located in the very southernmost portion of Illinois; at the junction of four physiographic regions. The Cache River Watershed has been designated a Bio-reserve by The Nature Conservancy and in 1994 was honored with becoming an official RAMSAR designated site.
Within the boundaries of the Refuge, sites include 1000 year old cypress/tupelo trees. Over 182 species of birds, 47 species of mammals, and 54 species of amphibians and reptiles are know to occur on the project area. Wildlife observation, hiking, canoe trails, and hunting and fishing are just a few of the activities offered at this new Refuge.
The refuge is a member of a unique partnership to restore and manage the Cache River Wetlands. Together, the refuge, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), The Nature Conservancy, and Ducks Unlimited share a common goal to protect and restore 60,000 acres along a 50-mile corridor of the Cache River. Wildlife observation, hiking, canoe trails, and hunting and fishing are just a few of the activities offered at this new refuge.
Climate - Illinois experiences four distinct seasons with varying weather throughout the year. Winter can be very cold. The highest humidity of the year occurs during this season averaging 70 to 75 percent. Average low temperatures in January dip to 20 degrees F with highs near 35 degrees F. Spring temperatures are mild with humidity below 70 percent. Temperatures during this season average between 32 and 50 degrees F. Summer is usually hot and humid in this Midwest state. Low temperatures remain in the low sixties with high temperatures near 90 degrees F. The highest rainfall of the year occurs during the summer months. Fall is an excellent time to visit the state with low humidity and rainfall and moderate temperatures.
Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southernmost portion of Illinois, with lands located in Union, Pulaski, Alexander, and Johnson counties. Take Interstate 57, and exit at #18, Shawnee College Road. Travel approximately 7.1 miles east to the refuge office located on the Shawnee College Rustic Campus, Building D. The refuge is approximately 22 miles north of Cairo, Illinois, and 35 miles south of Carbondale, Illinois.