Physical Environment:
Wetlands

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Wetlands were common in Illinois prairies where topography and climate were suitable. They provided habitat for plant species that required wetter conditions and attracted a variety of birds, mammals, and insects. Several types of wetland communities occur at Midewin, distributed across the landscape in depressions and low areas. They include seeps or springs, sedge meadows, and marshes. Some of these wetlands are permanently wet, whereas others are only seasonally wet such as shallow potholes. Prairie potholes are extremely important to the waterfowl that depend upon them for food and resting places during migration.
Blanding's Turtle
Blanding's Turtle
Cattails (Typha), rushes (Juncus), and prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) dominate the marshes at Midewin which today are largely disturbed or artificial. Marshes occur as part of an integrated complex of wet prairie, marsh, and sedge meadow. A marsh on the western edge of Midewin is home to Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) which is on the Illinois watch list and is a candidate for federal listing as endangered/threatened. Their populations have been decreasing most likely due to habitat loss (Glass, 1994 ).


Sedge meadows are some of the most beautiful wetlands on the prairie. The grass-like sedges dominate, but numerous other species occur including swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and blue vervain (Verbena hastata), a striking, blue- or purple-flowered plant. Arrowhead (Sagittaria), with its distinctive, arrow-shaped leaves, occurs in the sedge meadows, as well as fox sedge (Carex vulpinoides), black bullrush (Scirpus atrovirens), and red bullrush (Scirpus lineatus). Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) and Prairie Cord grass (Spartina pectinata) may also occur in sedge meadows as they merge with wet prairies less dominated by sedges.


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http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/midewin/wetlands.html, Last modified October 21st 2003, 02:53AM.