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Wetlands are extremely valuable resources.   First, wetlands control floods by soaking up excess water and slowing down water flow, giving flood waters more time to recede.   Also, wetlands provide a habitat for many species.   Many endangered species (one third of the endangered species in Illinois) depend on wetlands for a home. In addition to providing homes for endangered species, many other animals rely on wetlands.   Fish depend on wetlands to spawn, & migrating birds use wetlands as a resting place between flights. Finally, wetlands improve water quality.  Wetland vegetation slows down the flow of water and allows materials and sediments to drop to the bottom. Ninety percent of these sediments are absorbed by the wetlands.  If these sediments were not absorbed, they would create problems when they moved on to other bodies of water.   
The Interagency Wetland Policy Act, passed in 1989, made their goal to have no net loss of wetlands. It requires a replacement of the same kind of quality of wetlands; if a wetland is lost. This is called a wetland mitigation project where scientist and engineers have created or restored wetlands to lessen the impact of deliberate wetland loss elsewhere. The result is that if a developer or an individual is permitted to adversely impact a wetland, they must mitigate or compensate for that impact. This usually means that if a developer fills in wetland for their projects, they must restore, enhance or create the same amount of land to wetland status elsewhere, either on their property or off their own property.
The results of mitigation have been mixed. Many critics say that many mitigation sites have failed completely. It is clear that we have to continue to search for ways to save wetlands. Under the Interagency Wetland Policy Act, bogs and fens cannot be destroyed because no replacement is available as they take thousands of years to form. The severity of the requirement changes by type of wetland and location of the replacement wetland.
Most wetlands do not disappear overnight, but gradually fade away. First, changes in nearby land use, such as the building of roads discourage animals from being in that area. There is also an increased runoff to the wetlands, which can alter the water chemistry. Second, animals usually can't tolerate human activity close to the wetlands. Native species often die out and are replaced, usually by nonnative plants such as purple Loosestrife which can cause an overabundance. As buildings are moved closer to wetlands, the diversity of native species lessen, run-off increases, and eroded soil fills deep water areas. Eventually, the wetland can no longer survive, and although it is not directly paved over, it cannot support the large diversity of species that once lived there.
Finally to the wetland itself, buffers are extremely important to protect wetlands. Buffers are the area of plants or shrubs that protects harmful pollutants from reaching the wetlands. The size of the buffer needed depends on the activity around the wetland. For example, to maintain water quality, the buffers need to only 50-400 feet, but nesting birds may need up to 700 feet. Our Tallgrass wetlands need these protections to provide homeowners the benefits to us everyday by improving water quality, storing floodwater, offering habitat for wildlife while supporting bio-diversity here in Bartlett.
The cacophony of color from the mixture of sunflowers, goldenrod, thistle, and Indian grass. This image relies on the prairie detail.   Wikipedia Defines the Tallgrass Prairie is an ecosystem native to central North America, with fire as its primary periodic disturbance. In the past, tallgrass prairies covered a large portion of the American Midwest, just east of the Great Plains, and portions of the Canadian Prairies. They flourished in areas with rich loess soils and moderate rainfall of around 30 to 35 inches (760 to 890 mm) per year. Technically, prairies have less than 5-10% tree cover.
As its name suggests, the most obvious features of the tallgrass prairie are tall grasses such as big bluestem and indiangrass, which average between 5 and 6 feet (1.5 and 2 m) tall, with occasional stalks as high as 8 or 9 feet (2.5 or 3 m). Prairies also include a large percentage of forbs, such as lead plant, Prairie Rosinweed (Silphium terebinthinaceum), and coneflowers.
The tallgrass prairie biome depends upon prairie fires for its survival and renewal. Tree seedlings and intrusive alien species without fire-tolerance are eliminated by periodic fires. Such fires may either be set by humans (for example, Native Americans used fires to drive buffalo and improve hunting, travel, and visibility) or started naturally by lightning. Attempts to re-establish small sections of tallgrass prairie in arboretum fashion were unsuccessful until controlled burns were instituted.
Due to accumulation of loess and organic matter, parts of the North American tallgrass prairie had the deepest topsoil ever recorded. After the steel plow was invented by John Deere, this fertile soil became one of America's most important resources. Over 99% of the original tallgrass prairie is now farmland.
The tallgrass prairie survives in areas unsuited to plowing: the rocky hill country of the Flint Hills, which run north to south through east-central Kansas, the eastern fringe of the Red River Valley (Tallgrass Aspen Parkland) in Manitoba and Minnesota, the Coteau des Prairies which extends from South Dakota through Minnesota and into Iowa, and the far north portion of Oklahoma. In Oklahoma the tallgrass prairie was maintained by ranchers, who saw the hat-high grass as prime grazing area for cattle.
A 39,000 acre (158 km²) Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Osage County, Oklahoma, and a somewhat smaller 10,894 acre (44 km²) Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas, attempt to maintain this ecosystem in its natural form, and have reintroduced bison to the vast expanses of waving grass.
Other U.S. preserves include Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois, Broken Kettle Preserve and Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa, Konza Prairie in Kansas, and Prairie State Park in Missouri. 
This is a coyote spotted by resident on the Tallgrass Wetlands #2. Joe Orban of Sundance Drive took this picture of this Coyote quickly surveying the view of the land surrounding the rear basin area. Rarely do we see these creatures of beauty, so close to home but they do hunt for winter wildlife species. Thank you Joe for sharing this picture.
The Tallgrass HOA has filed for grant preservation status to extend wetland protection status to include all Tallgrass wetland easement areas.
Joe Orban is our Wetlands Committee Photographer for the association who has set
Tallgrass Wetland group in Flicker .com & posted many of my photos there.
It contains wildlife taken in 2008 and 2009. You can find these photos at:
a slide show of the photos is a better way to view them at: