Wetlands are places that are regularly inundated or saturated, causing the growth of plants that are specifically adapted to living in wet conditions and the development of characteristic soil features.
Why Are They Important?
Wetlands are important because they create products and perform functions for the people of Illinois. Our richest modern soils originally formed in wetlands that were drained for farming. Valuable resources such as coal and peat are mined from the deposits of ancient and existing wetlands. Existing wetlands perform many economically and ecologically important functions in Illinois, such as storing floodwaters, removing sediment and chemicals from surface water, replenishing groundwater, maintaining low flows in streams, providing wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities, and many others.
Studying wetlands helps us understand where they exist and why, how to preserve and restore wetlands, and how to wisely use the resources and services that they provide. At the ISGS, wetlands are primarily studied by the Wetlands Geology Section, although Quaternary and groundwater scientists from ISGS also study wetlands. The Wetlands Geology Section conducts research on the hydrogeologic processes and deposits of wetlands, and assists state and federal government agencies, consultants, and private individuals with their wetland issues. Some of the links below discuss projects involving the Wetlands Geology Section and other sections at ISGS.
Working Cooperatively to Investigate, Assess, and Monitor Wetlands
Using Magnetism to Identify Wetland Soils
Restoring Wetlands in the Illinois River Floodplain
Finding the Right Sites to Restore Wetlands
Understanding the Function and Status of Isolated Wetlands
Updated 02/23/2012 SLD