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Key to Wetland Communities of Illinois



Common Name

1. a. Wetland dominated by non-persistent  emergents, open water, aquatic bed, unconsolidated bottom, or stream bed.


  b. Wetland dominated by trees, shrubs, or persistent emergents with greater than  30% areal coverage, or farmed.



2. a. Water contained within a channel. 3
  b. Water not contained within a channel.



3. a. Water velocity slow, possibly intermittent. Bottom consists of mud, clay, sand, or bedrock. 4
  b. Water velocity fast. Bottom consists of coarse sand, gravel, or rock (rubble to boulders).


Upper Perennial

4. a. Water flowing throughout the year.

Lower Perennial

  b. Water flowing only part of the year.    When not flowing the water may remain in isolated pools, or surface water may be absent.



5. a. Area greater than 20 acres (8 hectares).

Open Lake

  b. Area less than 20 acres (8 hectares).



6. a. All, or part of the wetland made up of no active wave formed or bedrock shoreline present.

Lake Shore

  b. All, or part of the wetland made up of an active, wave formed or bedrock shoreline.



7. a. Greater than 50% of the vegetation woody. 8
  b. Greater than 50% of the vegetation herbaceous.


8. a. Woody vegetation greater than 20 feet tall (6.0 meters). 9
  b. Woody vegetation less than 20 feet tall (6.0 meters).



9.  a. Surface water present  semipermanently to permanently.  Woody vegetation adapted to living in standing water.


  b. Surface water present temporarily to seasonally.  Woody vegetation not  able to survive prolonged inundation. 



10. a. Standing water present temporarily to seasonally during the growing season. Soil pH neutral (approximately 6-7.3). (Areas may be framed during dry periods.)   Wet Meadow


  b.  Standing water present, or soil saturated throughout the growing season; or soil pH not neutral.




11. a.  Soil pH alkaline due to calcareous seepage.  Fen
  b.  Soil ph neutral to acid. 


12. a.  Soil Ph neutral (approximately 5-7.3).
Sphagnum moss and peat absent.


  b.  Soil Ph neutral (less than 5). Sphagnum moss and peat present. 


Wetland Community Descriptions

Return to Wetlands Home Page


 Wetlands Home Page
 Understanding Wetlands
 Functions and Values
 Status and History
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 Illinois Wetland Types
 National Wetland Inventory
 Glossary Acronyms
 Literature Cited

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