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  Wetlands

The Interagency Wetlands Committee

The 1989 Interagency Wetlands Policy Act created the Interagency Wetlands Committee to advise the Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in the administration of the Act. The Committee meets several times a year. In addition to the mandated members (See Represented Agencies), representatives from several federal agencies are also invited to attend Committee meetings. These agencies include the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The attendance of these additional agencies provides opportunities for exchange of technical information and further coordination. The Act charged the Committee with several tasks:

1. The Committee was directed to assist the Department in the development of rules and guidelines for the implementation and administration of the Act. This task has been completed and the implementation procedures were adopted into the Illinois Administrative Code on May 6, 1996. (see Appendix B)

2. The Committee was charged with establishing guidelines for developing individual Agency Action Plans. The minimal components are outlined in the Act and the Committee is working with individual agencies to adapt these components to each agencies circumstances.

3. The committee was directed to develop and adopt "technical procedures for the consistent identification, delineation, and evaluation of existing wetlands and quantification of their functional values and the evaluation of wetland restoration or creation projects." Section 1090.80 of the administrative rules strengthened the role of the Committee in developing, standardizing technical procedures. Both the Department and the Committee will receive and consider public comment on the proposed technical procedures, and the Department will attempt to notify associations whose members will be expected to utilize any new technical procedures. Technical procedures adopted for implementation of the Act may include but are not limited to the following:

a) Jurisdictional wetland delineation procedures;

b) Restoration and creation procedures;

c) Performance standards for certifying and conditionally certifying mitigation account credits; and

d) Process to evaluate the positive and negative impacts that may result from a project action.

As of early 1998, the Department recommended the use of the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual, the 1988 USFWS National List of Plant Species That Occur in Wetlands, and th e1995 USDA Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the United States as the technical tools for identification, delineation, and evaluation of existing wetlands. The Committee is currently developing "white papers" on these other technical subjects.

4. The Committee was authorized to develop a research program for wetlan dfunction, restoration and creation. In 1997, the Department, in consultation with the Committee, published the Illinois Wetland Restoration and Creation Guide. The publication provides Illinois wetlands managers with the current processes and procedures they should use to attempt to replicate natural wetland structure and function, with an emphasis on restoration. Information on project planning, site assessments, design, construction, monitoring, and management of restored and created wetlands is included in the guide. The Guide will be updated as technology changes. Copies of the Guide are available to Department staff, at no charge, by contacting the Wetland Program Administrator in the Office of Resource Conservation, 217/785-8287. Copies may also be ordered (for a charge) from the Illinois Natural History Survey Publications Office, 217/333-6880.

5. The committee was asked to prepare two periodic reports. The first was a biennial report to the Governor and General Assembly on the impact of State supported activities on wetlands. The second was a comprehensive report on the status of the State's wetland resources, including recommendations for additional programs. Two comprehensive reports have been prepared on the status of wetlands in Illinois, the first in 1994 and the second in 1997.

6. Finally, the Committee was directed to develop educational materials to promote the protection of wetlands. Several informational brochures have been produced by the Department in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These brochures include A Public Guide to Illinois Wetlands, Illinois Wetlands: Development / Agriculture, and Illinois Wetlands: A Guide for Local Governments.

In 1994, the Department published Wetland Resources of Illinois: An Analysis and Atlas, which provided information on the character, extent, and distribution of wetlands and deepwater habitats of Illinois based on the Illinois Wetlands Inventory.

In 1995, the Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a booklet titled Selected Wetlands-Related Legislature and Programs Applicable to Illinois in conjunction with the Illinois Wetlands Conservation Strategy (see below). This booklet identified programs with the greatest potential to positively affect wetland protection efforts in Illinois.

Currently under development is a semi-technical text with accompanying presentation materials, entitled Understanding Illinois' Wetlands which can be used to educate college and adult audiences about wetland resources in Illinois. The Department also facilitates distribution of the National Wetlands Inventory Maps. All of these resources are available to Department staff, at no charge, by contacting the Wetlands Program Administrator in the Office of Resource Conservation, 217/785-8287.

 [ Introduction | Represented Agencies | Agency Action Plans | Interagency Wetlands Policy Act of 1989 | Administrative Rules ]

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Wetlands

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 Literature Cited

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