Tuesday, March 17
The 6,600-acre Emiquon preserve was once among the biologically richest wetlands in North America. In the 20th century, the lakes and wetlands were converted into farmland, isolating the area from the Illinois River. In spring 2007, after 7 years of science-based planning, The Nature Conservancy turned off the pumps that had dried out the land since the 1920s. Within months water reappeared in the historic lakebeds and native plants returned from their seeds that had lain dormant for years. Emiquon is the premiere demonstration site for The Nature Conservancy’s work within the Upper Mississippi River system, and will help guide large floodplain river restoration efforts around the world. The next phase of restoration at Emiquon will be the installation of a water management structure that will provide a connection between the wetland and the Illinois River, facilitating the water control needed to sustain these high-quality habitats long term.
Doug Blodgett, director of river conservation for the Illinois Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, will give a presentation on the Emiquon Preserve and discuss the science behind the planned reconnection of the Illinois River.
Sponsored by the John Wesley Powell Audubon, IWU Environmental Studies Program, and IWU Biology Department.