The initial purchase of land, for Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area along the Illinois River was in 1945. These original 2,370 acres were designated as a refuge for migratory waterfowl with a portion to serve the hunters who contributed largely toward the land purchase. Camping facilities were added and renovated in 1970. The Department of Conservation purchased two of the neighboring waterfowl clubs, consisting of 2,952 acres, to provide increased mid-migration habitat. This current 5,660-acre area includes Big Lake, Slim Lake, Goose Lake, Pond Lily Lake, Lock Pond and the Copperas Creek Management Unit. Because the area is subject to extensive flooding, water management projects have been established to provide water control. Each year the lake is drawn down and aerially seeded with high quality moist soil plants to provide food to attract migrating waterfowl.