WIUM Tristates Public Radio

IL DOT Helps Restore Emiquon's Prairie

Sep 19, 2013

The Emiquon Preserve along the Illinois River is known for its wetlands, but it’s getting some help from the State to help restore its areas of native prairie as well.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is donating around 18 thousand dollars in plants to help restore the upland prairie habitats at Emiquon.

Dickson Mounds Prairie at Emiquon.
Credit http://www.experienceemiquon.com

Tharran Hobson with the Nature Conservancy said wetland seeds can stay dormant for decades, which means the ecosystem can bounce back at any time, but prairies plants are different.

"Their seeds really don't persist in the seed bank, so tall grass prairie needs a lot of help to get it going and reestablished again," Hobson said.

The plants being donated include big blue stem and purple coneflower. Hobson added that only one tenth of one percent of Illinois’ native prairie remains intact so restoration is critical.

The Nature Conservancy still needs volunteers to help install the donated plants. Those interested in volunteering can contact the Nature Conservancy's Sally McClure.