Byers, Steven .
FENS: More than "Peat with calcareous seepage...".
Fens: More than "Peat with calcareous seepage..." This description of fen wetlands, taken from the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, fails to convey the unique assemblage of plants and animals that led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to describe fens as "...perhaps the most unique wetland community in the continental United States." Participants in this day-long tour of Trout Park Nature Preserve and Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve will witness two of the finest surviving fens in the entire Midwest. Both sites were identified on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory in recognition of extant, high-quality natural areas. Trout Park, because of its juxtaposition on ridges overlooking the east bank of the Fox River, supports a forested fen. Here, we will descend from an oak-dominated woodland into a groundwater discharge zone supporting Great Angelica, Skunk cabbage, and Marsh marigolds. Nearby, Black and blue ash and white cedar flourish along cold, groundwater-fed streams cascading down north-facing slopes. Less than 17 acres of forested fen survive in the State. Less than a half hour away is Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve. The hallmark of this 130+ acre mosaic of oak savannas, prairies, and wetlands are the graminoid fens and calcareous seeps. Learn how the landscape favored the formation of these wetlands. Narrow trails lead through Ohio goldenrods, Valerians, and Flat-topped asters; species that define the graminoid fens. Volunteers and resource professionals will regale participants in successful restoration efforts; including the critical, early role of volunteers to preserve this site and their continued experimentation with tools (from loppers to bulldozers). Learn more about the effects (if any?) of frequent burn rotations on habitat-restricted butterflies, reintroduction of the Swamp metalmark, and long-term trends of the 12 State-listed species found at this site.
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1 - State of Illinois
Presentation Type: Activitie:Field Trips
Location: check back for updates/Offsite
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM