Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve
|Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve|
|Location||Johnson County, Illinois|
|Area||1,861 acres (753 ha)|
|Official name||Cache River and Cypress Creek Wetlands|
|Designated||1 November 1994|
Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve is a parcel of protected wetland property located approximately 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Vienna in Johnson County, Illinois. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1972. As part of the Cache River basin, it is classified as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve protects a swath of Cache River drainage upstream from the Post Creek Cutoff. It combines upland limestone bluffs (Wildcat Bluff), Cache River floodplain, and a drier mesic woodland (Boss Island).
The Wildcat Bluff upland may commemorate one of the nature preserve's top carnivores, the bobcat. There are also river otters here. Birdwatchers come to Heron Pond - Little Black Slough to search for a variety of raptors, including the black vulture, red-shouldered hawk, and the barred owl, and enjoy a variety of songbirds, including the Kentucky warbler and the yellow-throated warbler.
The Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve complex comprises 1,861 acres (753 hectares) of land accessible from U.S. Highway 45. It is, in terms of area, the largest natural area owned and operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The name of the small nearby town of Cypress, Illinois appears to commemorate the cypress trees of the upper Cache River drainage, including the groves now protected within the Heron Pond – Little Black Slough Nature Preserve.
- "Cache River and Cypress Creek Wetlands". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- "Heron Pond - Little Black Slough Nature Preserve: Johnson County". Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2009-04-01.