WETLANDS - INTRODUCTION
The first step in understanding Illinois' wetlands is to define what a
wetland is. In general terms, a wetland may be described as an area that
is both part land and part water. The legal definition of a wetland, however,
is more technical. The State of Illinois defines a wetland
as, "land that has a predominance of hydric soils and that is inundated
or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient
to support, and that under normal circumstances does support, a prevalence
of hydrophytic vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil
conditions" (Interagency Wetlands Policy Act of 1989).
In the federal
government, there are several different legal definitions of the term
"wetland". The differences between the definitions are relatively minor.
Every definition includes the same three major attributes: hydric soils,
wetland hydrology, and hydrophytic vegetation. It is how each of these
three attributes are defined and the combinations in which they must be
present that separates the various definitions.
there are variations in the legal wetland definition it is difficult to
determine under what conditions an area may be considered wetland. To
help define and identify the presence of the three wetland attributes
on a piece of property, some highly technical and very specific nationwide
guidance and delineation manuals have been developed. These manuals and
their applications are discussed in more detail in the delineation
section of this webpage. The remaining sections are designed to further
help simplify the process of identifying and classifying wetlands.
| Delineations | Hydric Soils|Wetland
Hydrology| Hydrophytic Vegetation|
Wetland Classification |Summary]
to Wetlands Home Page