Biological assessment of properties enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Illinois has generally been lacking. To remedy this situation, scientists from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Natural History Survey teamed up in 2009 to conduct a pilot study to make general botanical assessments of 11 randomly selected sites comprising 17 private properties in central Illinois enrolled in CREP. Botanical assessments were repeated in 2010 with an additional eight randomly selected CREP properties. Each property was visited once, and a list of plant species was made and general vegetation structure was noted. Sites ranged from being dominated by native herbaceous species like common goldenrod to being dominated by tree species like silver maple and eastern cottonwood. Native plant species were generally more abundant than non-native species, but invasive species like reed canary grass, field thistle, and Amur honeysuckle were present on some sites. Compared to randomly selected wetland and grassland sites sampled as part of the Critical Trends Assessment Program (CTAP), the CREP sites were more botanically rich and diverse, but as sites mature without management or disturbance, plant diversity is expected to decline.
|Name||INHS Technical Report 2010 (47)|