Benefits of Wetlands, Lakes and Streams
Wetlands are some of the most productive and diverse ecological systems on
Earth. They are distinguished by unique characteristics of plants, soils, and
water. Common wetland types in Kane County include marshes, wet meadows, fens, and
bogs. Kane County also has varied streams, a number of which are high quality.
Wetlands, lakes, and streams provide habitat and food for
fish and wildlife. They also contain diverse assemblages of plants, both common and
rare. Statewide, over 40 percent of Illinois' threatened and endangerd plant and
animal species rely on wetlands.
Wetlands also are critical to the control of flooding.
They store vast quantities of runoff water during floods and release it slowly to rivers
and streams as the flood recedes. The storage and slow release of runoff water by
wetlands helps to prevent erosion in downstream channels, and stabilizes the baseflow in
streams and rivers.
Wetlands also protect water quality. Wetlands
bordering the banks of lakes and streams prevent erosion by holding the soil in place and
defelcting erosive flows and waves. Wetlands also are able to remove sediment,
nutrients, and toxic chemicals from runoff water.
Wetlands provide numerous other benefits as well. Wetlands, lakes, and
streams are prized for recreation, including fishing, swimming, boating, birding, hiking,
and hunting. Wetlands and stream corridors enhance natural aesthetics and serve as
buffers between adjacent developments.