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Wildflowers in the Fox River Basin bloom from late February to late October, beginning with skunk cabbage and including gentians, goldenrods, daisies, lilies, orchids, yellow lady’s slipper, mayapples, Indian paintbrush, blazing star, coneflowers, and trillium.


Forty-four per cent of Illinois’ native and naturalized plants, some 1,389 species, can be found here, including 77 listed as endangered and 25 as threatened. Two state endangered species -- the prairie white fringed orchid and the prairie bush clover, also are listed as federally threatened.


Bumblebee on coneflower


Compass plant


Wildflowers, mammals, birds, fish, mussels,


Some residents say they have spotted otter footprints, or have seen a few of these small mammals playing in the river, but the general consensus is that these once-abundant animals have disappeared from the Basin. But that doesn’t mean that the Fox River Basin is short of mammal wildlife. Quite the contrary.


Along the Fox River and within its environs, one can find 74 percent of the State of Illinois’ mammal species. Deer, coyotes, oppossum, raccoons, woodchucks, rabbits, chipmunks, grey squirrels, fox, muskrats and beaver are some of the more visible mammal inhabitants of the Fox River basin. Recently, the pygmy shrew, one of the rarest in Illinois, was spotted. Small insectivores, these shrew can be found in forests.


Once the beaver also were on the decline. Hunted for their pelts, which were in high-demand to make hats and coats, the beaver all but disappeared from Illinois waterways. But now the beaver population is thriving. Once again these furry, industrious mammals are busy cutting down saplings, building their lodges, and damming up creeks.


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Resources of the Fox River


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