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An Illinois River Almanac

Jason Haupt's Energy and Environment Blog

Wetlands of Significance

Once again the seasons have changed and once again I find myself amazed at nature and how it returns to beauty and the number of species that come back each year.  This is never more evident in the many natural areas that surround me.  The areas that are of particular importance and offer a great deal of interest are the many wetlands.  These areas offer a great deal of interest and are important for the health of the land.  Many people forget or they just do not know the importance of these natural areas.

Wetlands offer a number of benefits to the surrounding areas and the rivers to which they are connected.  The people that would see these are the big benefit are the sportsmen and sportswomen who fish and hunt for waterfowl, birders, and anyone who lives along the river.

Wetlands provide important areas of rest and refuge for the many migratory waterfowl species that move through central Illinois.  They also provide important habitat for nearly 250 species of birds.  In the past 15 years 246 species have been spotted in the Illinois River Refuge Complex, and the Emiquon Campus (only 359 have been reported in all of Illinois).

Wetlands also provide an important steadying effect on the level of the water in the Illinois River.  When a wetland is connected to the river they provide a place for excess water to be stored in the spring when floods are most common and can provide a steady release of water into the river throughout the summer evening out the high and low levels in the rivers.  They also act as important filters for the rivers providing a place for excess nutrients to be taken up and utilized.  Wetlands can provide a way to reduce nutrients in the rivers and ultimately in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wetlands provide a number of benefits to the Illinois river and the communities that are located along its banks.  To learn more about wetlands and the role that they play please contact Jason Haupt (


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