The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has supported wetland surveys by the Illinois Natural History Survey since 1987. Jurisdictional wetlands are protected under Section 404 of the United States Clean Water Act and the Illinois Interagency Wetland Policy Act. The Wetland Science Program helps IDOT remain compliant with these laws by identifying and delineating wetlands in the vicinity of proposed IDOT transportation projects. Our soil scientists, botanists and GIS specialists delineate wetlands based on features of soils, vegetation and hydrology, following procedures outlined by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Since 1987 we have investigated over 10,000 potential wetland sites in Illinois. Delineation and monitoring activities, as well as other research and outreach projects, are reviewed in our annual reports.
The Illinois Department of Transportation first attempts to avoid or minimize impacts to jurisdictional wetlands within transportation project areas. Unavoidable impacts are compensated for through the restoration or creation of wetlands. The Wetland Science Program assists IDOT in locating sites that are appropriate for wetland restoration. After restoration, we monitor the vegetation and soils at these sites to report on progress toward restoration objectives. In addition, the Wetlands Geology Section at the Illinois State Geological Survey monitors hydrology in these compensatory mitigation wetlands.
Members of the Wetland Science Program are active in education and outreach through speaking engagements, presentations to classes, informational hikes and workshops. We regularly present talks for organizations such as the Illinois Native Plant Society and the East-Central Illinois Master Naturalists. Follow the links below to learn more about some of our education and outreach activities.
Many of us in the Wetland Science Program also conduct research related to wetland ecology, restoration, habitat, and flora including invasive species. Our research helps improve restoration efforts, protect current wetlands and further scientific understanding of wetland ecosystems. To learn more about our research please visit our Research page.