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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2004

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF WETLAND HABITAT

SPRINGFIELD, IL. – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the state has acquired a 90-acre tract of property in Jackson County that contains wetlands and provides habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.
 
“Lovet’s Pond is a significant natural area worthy of preservation,” the Governor said. “It is a haven for wildlife and, despite some disturbance over the years, has retained much of the character it had before our ancestors arrived here in Illinois.”
 
The property – known as the eastern portion of Lovet’s Pond – provides habitat for waterfowl and protects threatened and endangered species such as the marsh rice rat, American bittern and snowy egret. It is also home to some exceptional features such as the green tree frog, mud snake and native lotus. The land was acquired for about $163,000 with natural areas acquisition funds – dollars set aside for protection of such natural lands that cannot be used for any other purpose.
 
Prior to settlement, much of the Mississippi bottoms in this region were covered with water, and lakes, ponds and swamps were common. Few remain today. Lovet’s Pond originally was part of a linear 2-to-3-mile pond which drained south into a 500-acre lake locally known as Swan Pond. Just 1.5 miles to southeast was Big Lake, which drained into the Mississippi River. Swan Pond and the Big Lake no longer exist, a hint of their previous existence appearing only occasionally, when floodwaters cover this bottomland area. The land they once occupied now is comprised of soybean and corn fields.
           
“Protecting wetlands and natural areas is an important mission of the Department of Natural Resources,” said Director Joel Brunsvold. “Native plants at Lovet’s Pond represent small pond or marsh sites dominated by grasses and sedges that once were common to the region, but are few and far between today.”
 
Lovet’s Pond is south of Illinois Route 3 about 15 miles west of Murphysboro.


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