Cooperatove Conservation Project

BP Wood River Refinery

Community Creates Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Midwest/Northern High Plains Region: Illinois

Project Summary: A former unusable industrial property in Illinois is revitalized through efforts of multiple partners creating a redeveloped area and wildlife sanctuary.
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Students from Civic Memorial High School construct and plant a native pollinator garden. Interpretive signage informs local community groups about the natural habitat at the Wood River facility. Photo courtesy of BP.
Resource Challenge

In 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated the former 800-acre BP Wood River Refinery property in Wood River, Illinois, as one of only five Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) brownfield remediation pilot projects. The initiative is designed to empower states, communities and other stakeholders to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated lands. The Wood River pilot project converted a former unusable industrial land to new uses emphasizing innovative environmental management techniques.

The facility formerly operated as a refinery and gasoline additive manufacturer, although, all structures associated with these processes have been removed. BP has invested more than $70 million in cost effective and environmentally sound alternatives to many of the currently practiced methods of handling contaminated soil. The improved land is getting a new life with open space, recreational areas and commercial uses along with the added bonus of a wildlife sanctuary.

Examples of Key Partners
BP, City of Wood River, Civic Memorial High School, Group Environmental Management (a BP affiliated company), Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, RLJ L.L.C., Triad Industries, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Wildlife Habitat Council.
Results and Accomplishments

The 30-acre wildlife habitat area is known as Deer Park and includes an ADA accessible walking trail, pavilion and meditation area with an observatory to watch for deer and other wildlife dwelling in the area. The park hosts a large variety of native plants, animals and migratory birds, such as purple martins, eastern bluebirds and tree swallows. Students from nearby Civic Memorial High School have become a vital part of the wildlife management team along with BP employees. Biology students planted a native pollinator garden at Deer Park to further natural plant growth and use for their own studies as well. Interpretive materials are located throughout the area with descriptions of the local wildlife.

Among the innovative approaches used at the site are groundwater management zones and phytoremediation or use of plants with very high tolerance of certain pollutants to remove toxic elements from the soil. In addition, BP has committed to withdrawal of a sufficient amount of groundwater using a pump-and-treat system to ensure no contaminated groundwater flows off-site.

In 2001, BP achieved habitat certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council for these efforts at the site.


Deer Park provides a safe haven for a large variety of wildlife and offers viewing and educational opportunities for all ages.

Project Contact
Vanessa Kauffman
Director of Marketing & Communications
Wildlife Habitat Council
8737 Colesville Road Suite 800
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Greg Jevyak
Environmental Business Manager
P.O. Box 167
Wood River, IL 62095


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