Wetlands provide recreation, flood control, and pollution reduction as well as vital food and habitat to plants and animals. The combination of low water levels and high nutrients help provide an abundance of food for a variety of organisms. This enriched ecosystem feeds many small animals such as aquatic insects, shellfish, and small fish some of which then are food for larger predatory fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. About 35% of the nation's threatened and endangered species depend on wetlands in some way.
While wetlands are some of the most important resources we have, they are also some of the most endangered areas in the world. Illinois has lost more than 85 percent of its wetlands since the time of European settlement. Wetlands are threatened by development, pollution, and exploitation. It is imperative that we preserve, protect and restore our remaining areas.
The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) Wetland Science Program works closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to identify, protect, maintain, and restore wetlands in Illinois.
The Wetland Science Program performs biological surveys and wetland delineations and conducts studies of mitigation wetlands, wetland soils and plant and animal communities. We also provide public service by speaking to various school and interest groups and presenting workshops about our work. Some of us also conduct independent research related to wetlands and their functions.