Wetland Restoration & Preservation Plan (WRAPP)

Project Overview

The Lake County Wetland Restoration and Preservation Plan ("WRAPP") identifies and assesses functional significance of existing and potentially restorable wetlands in Lake County, Illinois. A technical report and interactive online planning tool are available. These resources are linked on the right side of this page. They provide a wide audience of end-users with the decision-making support to help prioritize wetland restoration and preservation efforts.

This information can be used to guide planning decisions throughout the County and help prioritize wetland restoration and preservation efforts based on specific "wetland functions" (e.g., flood water storage or water quality improvement).  Preserving existing wetland functions will help retain many important green infrastructure benefits.

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WRAPP Given the Green Ribbon Award

WRAPP Green Award from FOTCRThe Friends of the Chicago River honored the SMC with a Green Ribbon Award for the Wetland Restoration and Preservation Plan at the Big Fish Ball and Chicago River Blue Awards annual event on June 1, 2022. The Green Ribbon Award recognizes projects that demonstrate a high level of river-sensitive design and consideration. Accepting the award on behalf of SMC were Mike Prusila (WRAPP project manager) as well as Glenn Westman and Juli Crane (Principal Wetland Specialists). SMC appreciates the support and effort of all who participated in developing the WRAPP, especially the members of our Technical Advisory Group. We look forward to folks using the WRAPP to identify some great projects within our County.

The WRAPP was funded through a USEPA Region 5 Wetlands Program Development Grant.

Wetland Classification

SMC classified wetlands based on the Landscape, Landform, Waterbody, and Water Flow Path (LLWW) hydrogeomorphic wetland classification scheme developed by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. This classification is the foundation for the assessment of wetland function and provides a basis for comparison of wetlands across the County.

Functional Assessment and Examples of Wetland Functions 

Wetland functions are properties that a wetland performs naturally. Typically, they relate to a physical and/or biological process. Sometimes, functions are linked to processes within other habitats connected to the wetland or water body. Functions may have economic, social, or cultural benefits to humans or provide environmental or ecological value. Not all wetlands perform all functions, nor do they perform all functions equally well.

The WRAPP assesses 13 functions (services) as selected by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The TAG also rated the level to which an existing wetland performs each function compared to other wetlands in the County. The WRAPP estimates the degree to which functions are performed by existing wetlands, and it estimates the degree to which functions might be restored for potentially restorable wetlands.

The following table identifies the 13 wetland functions assessed in the WRAPP.

Hydrologic Functions Biodiversity Functions Water Quality Functions
Flood Water Storage Native Fish Habitat Carbon Sequestration
Stream Baseflow Maintenance Unique Wetland Resources Nutrient Transformation (P-focus)
  Stream Shading  Sediment and Other Particulate Retention
  Waterfowl Habitat Shoreline/Stream Bank Stabilization
  Wetland-dependent Bird Habitat (Other)  
  Wildlife Movement Corridors  
  Woodland Amphibian Habitat  

Field Verification

SMC field verified the functional assessment data at 48 wetlands to confirm and calibrate the functional assessment methodology. Field sites included a cross-section of wetland/water body types, with emphasis placed on the types with the highest percentage of occurrence in each of the four major watersheds of Lake County.

Technical Report & Decision Support Tool

The Technical Report (Volume 1) and Appendices (Volume 2) describe WRAPP development and methodology and summarize its findings. The Decision Support Tool is an online mapping application that allows users to view the WRAPP results in an interactive environment. For information about the WRAPP, contact Mike Prusila at [email protected].

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