Stewart Lake Wildlife Sanctuary is located immediately north of Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area in Mason County. It is a high-quality 800-acre naturally functioning wetland and considered one of the best back-water lakes remaining in the Illinois River watershed. The site is within the Middle Illinois River Conservation Opportunity Area and is adjacent to Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area.
In 2014, Ducks Unlimited identified Stewart lake as a project of their Big River Initiative. The 1,500-acre shallow lake wetland is an important natural resting area for migrating teal, pintails, mallards and other ducks and one of the best remaining and least disturbed backwater lakes in the Illinois River Valley. The west half (700 acres) was purchased and donated to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Shortly after, the east end (800 acres) was secured with funding provided by Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and the Grand Victoria Foundation, along with the agreement that this parcel would be donated to the Illinois Audubon Society and become a permanent sanctuary for waterfowl and other migratory birds.
The protection of Stewart Lake is a showcase of partnerships between non-profit land trusts and foundations committed to the conservation of our natural areas. Illinois Audubon Society took possession of the property in late 2017.
NOTE: There is no visitor access available at this sanctuary.