From its headwaters near Bloomington, Illinois, the Sangamon River flows through the cities of Decatur and Springfield on its way to meet the Illinois River. The Upper Sangamon River Watershed covers about 1425 square miles. The Lake Decatur dam, built in the early 1920s, impounds the Sangamon to create a lake used for recreation and the city’s domestic and industrial water supply. The watershed area upstream of the dam is about 925 square miles.
Decatur businessman A. E. Staley played a significant early role in transforming the agricultural landscape of Central Illinois and much of the Corn Belt when his company opened a “plant for grinding and extracting the oil from the soya bean” in 1922.
Caterpillar, Inc. (CAT) and the Agricultural Watershed Institute (AWI) are conducting a multi-year joint project to demonstrate production of perennial prairie grasses and forbs for bioenergy on property owned by CAT in Decatur, Illinois. Learn more at our Prairie for Bioenergy page.