A wetland is an area that is part land and part water and in which water is the controllingenvironmental factor. Not all wetlands hold water throughout the year. The wetlands of Illinois Beach State Park are home to a diversity of plants and animals, including 4 federally protected species. Wetlands have their own succession of plant communities, with rushes, sedges, and marsh grasses as their pioneers, eventually being replaced by prairie plants. Because most of the wetlands do not hold water year round, fish are unable to survive, which allows dragonflies and amphibians to thrive.

 

The loss of wetlands around the Great Lakes has removed the natural filter, resulting in more pollutants, such as pesticides and nitrates from agriculture and oil and grease from roads, reaching the lakes. Storm events allow untreated sewage to enter the Great Lakes. Habitat preservation and restorations help to reduce the pollutants entering the lakes through runoff. Improvements can be made to storm-water infrastructure to reduce contamination with sewage during storms.   

 

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