Thursday, August 9, 2012

Emiquon honored for rescuing endangered species, plants

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon on Wednesday dedicated two wetlands along the Illinois River that gained international prestige this year for transforming flood-prone land into natural habitats for endangered and native species and plants.

The Emiquon Compex and Dixon Refuge both were designated Wetlands of International Importance by the federal government earlier this year in accordance with the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an international treaty signed by 162 nations committed to the protection of wetlands. Only 34 sites in the United States have received such designation.

Doug Blodgett, director of river conservation at The Nature Conservancy spoke about the many partners who have made Emiquon possible.

Blodgett said he was delighted that the University of Illinois Springfield’s Therkildsen Field Station had been built in 2008, and those present were welcome to tour the field station. He pointed out Danny Rosenkranz, a graduate student at UIS, worked on the Ransar application in cooperation with Mike Lemke, director of the field station. Rosenkranz contacted numerous people and dealt with many documents.

Rosenkranz said in a brief interview that he worked closely with Dr. Lemke. Asked about stories of seeds lying dormant for around 80 years springing to life after the Thompson and Flag lakes were restored, Rosenkranz said there were some examples of that with tubers. He said he did not know the species, but they came back after the area was reflooded.

"It's just the beginning stage. Who knows how things will change? It's just amazing," he said.

The Ramsar designation was featured in a August 9, 2012, article in the Canton Daily Ledger.

Read the article online