Thursday, August 9, 2012

Illinois River wetlands project earns international recognition

Two wetland-restoration projects along the Illinois River received international recognition during ceremonies held at both locations Wednesday afternoon.

The Emiquon Complex in Fulton and Mason counties and the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin-Hopper Lakes in Putnam County were designated “Wetlands of International Importance” by the Ramsar Convention.

Ramsar is an intergovernmental treaty established in 1971. Member countries commit to conservation and “wise use” of wetlands and their resources. Wetlands have to meet a set of criteria to qualify. Only 34 sites in the United States have received the designation.

Michael Lemke, director of the University of Illinois at Springfield Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, said he hopes the recognition prompts more students to take advantage of the site that is just over an hour’s drive from Springfield.

“As we know, (the Emiquon story) is a story of human history, anthropology, economics and the list goes on and on,” he said. “I think UIS students should jump on it with both feet."

The Ramsar designation was featured in a August 9, 2012, article in the State Journal-Register.

Read the article online