Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013
Federal Grant to Help Restore Southern Illinois Wetlands
JACKSON CO. -- Help is on the way for wetland areas in southern Illinois. The federal government is planning a facelift for parts of the Oakwood Bottoms Reservoir in Jackson County and the Cypress Creek Refuge in Pulaski County. The work will improve conditions for visitors and wildlife.
The Oakwood Bottoms Reservoir, near Grand Tower, is a popular place to hunt, fish, and camp, but the area needs a touch-up every once in awhile.
"It's become so overgrown that it just lost some of its functionality and some of its productivity," said Ducks Unlimited biologist Michael Sertle.
Sertle says the company helped secure a grant to improve conditions, $1 million is coming from the federal government, another $2 million from Ducks Unlimited and other conservation partners.
Areas like the Bottoms have been degraded because of their good soil. Levees and ditches were installed, which benefited farmers in the short term, but damaged the wetlands in the long term.
Soon, pumps will be installed and trees will be replanted to reverse the changes and return it to a more natural state.
"There's plenty of habitat work to be done down there," said Sertle.
Officials say this will be a multi-year program. Surveying will begin in a few months. Crews will start work during the spring and summer. The improvements are set to take three to five years.
Wind: 14 MPH
Humidity: 47 %