Historically, the wetlands of the Illinois River valley (IRV) provided extensive and valuable habitat to migrating waterbirds and other wetland-dependent wildlife in the Upper Midwest. Despite dramatic anthropogenic alterations, the IRV remains a critical ecoregion for migratory birds. Restoration and reclamation efforts are ongoing in attempts to return structure and function to backwater wetlands in the region. For example, The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Emiquon Preserve (hereafter, Emiquon) is the most substantial effort to date, directly restoring, enhancing, or protecting >2,700 ha of former wetlands and associated uplands in the central IRV. To guide the restoration process at Emiquon, TNC identified key ecological attributes (KEAs) of specific biological characteristics or ecological processes that would indicate restoration success (The Nature Conservancy 2006), and several KEAs were related to waterbird communities and their habitats. Thus, we monitored the response of wetland habitats and waterbirds to restoration efforts at Emiquon relative to desired KEAs during 2011. Specifically, we evaluated: 1) abundance, diversity, and behavior of waterfowl and other waterbirds through counts and observations; 2) productivity by waterfowl and other waterbirds through brood counts; 3) plant seed and invertebrate biomass for waterfowl during migration and breeding, and; 4) composition and arrangement of the vegetation community through geospatial wetland covermapping.
|Name||INHS Technical Report 2012 (15)|