Wauconda Bog Nature Preserve

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Wauconda Bog Nature Preserve
USA Illinois location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Map of Illinois
Location Wauconda, Illinois
Coordinates 42°15′14″N88°07′49″W / 42.2539°N 88.1302°W / 42.2539; -88.1302 Coordinates: 42°15′14″N88°07′49″W / 42.2539°N 88.1302°W / 42.2539; -88.1302
Area67 acres (27 ha)
Governing body Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Wauconda Bog Nature Preserve is a tamarack bog Nature Preserve [1] located in Wauconda (a suburb of Chicago) Lake County, Illinois. It is a National Natural Landmark. [2]

Bog Wetland that accumulates peat due to incomplete decomposition of plant leftovers

A bog or bogland is a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum moss. It is one of the four main types of wetlands. Other names for bogs include mire, quagmire, and muskeg; alkaline mires are called fens. They are frequently covered in ericaceous shrubs rooted in the sphagnum moss and peat. The gradual accumulation of decayed plant material in a bog functions as a carbon sink.

Wauconda, Illinois Village in Illinois, United States

Wauconda is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 13,603 at the 2010 census. It is the site of the Wauconda Bog Nature Preserve, a National Natural Landmark. Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 serves students from kindergarten through 12th grade who live in Wauconda and surrounding communities. Fremont School District 79 also serves students from communities from northern part of Wauconda.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,705,994 (2018), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States.


Biological history

The Wauconda Bog is a wetland created by the Wisconsin glaciation, the most recent of the so-called ice ages to affect the Illinois landscape. Core samples have been extracted from the peat layers contained within the bog, and they have told a vivid story of climate change in central North America during the postglacial period. Different levels of temperature and precipitation encouraged the growth of very different kinds of plant life during this period; these diverse species released large quantities of characteristic pollen, which was trapped within the layers of peat preserved here. [1]

Wetland A land area that is permanently or seasonally saturated with water

A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is inundated by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a number of functions, including water purification, water storage, processing of carbon and other nutrients, stabilization of shorelines, and support of plants and animals. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life. Whether any individual wetland performs these functions, and the degree to which it performs them, depends on characteristics of that wetland and the lands and waters near it. Methods for rapidly assessing these functions, wetland ecological health, and general wetland condition have been developed in many regions and have contributed to wetland conservation partly by raising public awareness of the functions and the ecosystem services some wetlands provide.

Wisconsin glaciation North American glacial ice sheet

The Wisconsin Glacial Episode, also called the Wisconsin glaciation, was the most recent glacial period of the North American ice sheet complex. This advance included the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, which nucleated in the northern North American Cordillera; the Innuitian ice sheet, which extended across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago; the Greenland ice sheet; and the massive Laurentide ice sheet, which covered the high latitudes of central and eastern North America. This advance was synchronous with global glaciation during the last glacial period, including the North American alpine glacier advance, known as the Pinedale glaciation. The Wisconsin glaciation extended from approximately 75,000 to 11,000 years ago, between the Sangamonian Stage and the current interglacial, the Holocene. The maximum ice extent occurred approximately 25,000–21,000 years ago during the last glacial maximum, also known as the Late Wisconsin in North America.

Peat Accumulation of partially decayed vegetation

Peat, also known as turf, is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation or organic matter. It is unique to natural areas called peatlands, bogs, mires, moors, or muskegs. The peatland ecosystem is the most efficient carbon sink on the planet, because peatland plants capture CO2 naturally released from the peat, maintaining an equilibrium. In natural peatlands, the "annual rate of biomass production is greater than the rate of decomposition", but it takes "thousands of years for peatlands to develop the deposits of 1.5 to 2.3 m [4.9 to 7.5 ft], which is the average depth of the boreal [northern] peatlands". Sphagnum moss, also called peat moss, is one of the most common components in peat, although many other plants can contribute. The biological features of Sphagnum mosses act to create a habitat aiding peat formation, a phenomenon termed 'habitat manipulation'. Soils consisting primarily of peat are known as histosols. Peat forms in wetland conditions, where flooding or stagnant water obstructs the flow of oxygen from the atmosphere, slowing the rate of decomposition.

Geomorphologists sometimes compare the Wauconda Bog with the nearby Volo Bog, also a National Natural Landmark located about 7 miles (11 km) north of the Wauconda Bog. The two bogs displays different stages of a bog's life cycle. The Wauconda Bog, unlike Volo Bog, no longer has any patches of open water; instead, layers of wet and damp peat support characteristic wetland plant forms such as tamarack, cattails, wetland orchids, yellow birch, and poison sumac. [1]


A 67-acre (27 ha) parcel that comprises the Wauconda Bog site is owned by the Lake County Forest Preserve District. It is minimally accessible to the public. U.S. Highway 12 adjoins the bog. [1]

The bog was named as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1970, [1] and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1972. [2]

Related Research Articles

Askham Bog

Askham Bog is small area of peat bog and Site of Special Scientific Interest situated within the Vale of York in North Yorkshire, England. It lies to the south-west of York, north of Copmanthorpe and near Askham Richard and Askham Bryan.

Cranberry Glades

Cranberry Glades — also known simply as The Glades — are a cluster of five small, boreal-type bogs in southwestern Pocahontas County, West Virginia, United States. This area, high in the Allegheny Mountains at about 3,400 feet (1,000 m), is protected as the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, part of the Monongahela National Forest. This site is the headwaters of the Cranberry River, a popular trout stream, and is adjacent to the nearly 50,000-acre (200 km2) Cranberry Wilderness.

Big Bog State Recreation Area

Big Bog State Recreation Area, a recent addition to the Minnesota state park system, is located on Minnesota State Highway 72, north of Waskish, Minnesota. It covers 9,459 acres (38.3 km2), primarily swamps, bogs, and upland "islands".

Tannersville Cranberry Bog

The Tannersville Cranberry Bog or Cranberry Swamp is a sphagnum bog on the Cranberry Creek in Tannersville, Pennsylvania. It is the southernmost boreal bog east of the Mississippi River, containing many black spruce and tamarack trees at the southern limit of their ranges. Technically, it can be classed as an acid fen, as it receives some groundwater flow. The site was designated a National Natural Landmark in December 1974. It was purchased by The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation and Research Foundation in 1957. Like many bogs, its terrain presents an image of solidity, but a liquid mass of decaying peat lies beneath a six-inch (152 mm) layer of sphagnum and a network of supporting tree roots. However, this bog may be viewed from a floating walkway.

Pinhook Bog

Pinhook Bog is a unique bog in Indiana that has been designated a National Natural Landmark. It is part of Indiana Dunes National Park, an area that many citizens, scientists, and politicians fought hard to preserve. Its sister bog, Volo Bog, is located nearby. The bog contains a large variety of plants, including insect eating plants, tamarack trees, stands of blueberry bushes, and floating mats of sphagnum moss. Pinhook Bog is about 580 acres (2.3 km2), a quarter of which is a floating mat of sphagnum peat moss. A "moat" separates the bog from the uplands.

Cowles Bog

Cowles Bog is an 8,000-year-old fen in Indiana Dunes National Park, near Chesterton, Indiana. It is named for Dr. Henry Chandler Cowles who did his pioneering work in ecology and ecological succession here. His work brought international attention to the area which led to efforts to preserve the Indiana Dunes. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1965.

Volo Bog State Natural Area

Volo Bog State Natural Area is a nature reserve in Illinois, United States, preserving Volo Bog. The bog was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 as the only remaining open-water quaking bog in Illinois. The site also contains woodlands, savanna, marshes, prairie restoration areas, shrubland and old fields. Maintained by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the site is located about a mile west of U.S. Route 12 between the towns of Volo and Fox Lake, Illinois.

Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon Ponds Park is a county park located southeast of Rochester, New York within the suburban towns of Mendon and Pittsford. At over 2,500 acres (10 km2), it is the largest park in Monroe County. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1967 in recognition of its unique glacial geology.

Tom S. Cooperrider-Kent Bog State Nature Preserve

The Tom S. Cooperrider - Kent Bog State Nature Preserve is state nature preserve located in Kent, Ohio and neighboring Brimfield Township. The preserve surrounds the Kent Bog, a remnant of the Wisconsin Glaciation. It is a true bog with acidic waters and unique environmental conditions have enabled it to survive. The bog contains the largest stand of tamarack trees in the state of Ohio.

Habitats of the Indiana Dunes

The Indiana Dunes comprise ten different habitats. Each provides for a unique combination of plants and animals. The range of the Indiana Dunes varies depending your source. The Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program uses the river drainage systems along the shoreline. This expands the area from the areas of lakeshore southward to the edges of the Valparaiso Moraine. This entire region has been dune landscapes since over 114,000 years before present (YBP). Traditionally, the Indiana Dunes area thought of as a narrow area along the shores of Lake Michigan, including the areas of Marquette Park in Gary, Indiana (1920), Indiana Dunes State Park (1926) and Indiana Dunes National Park,. The identified ten habitats can be found in these parks, where they have been preserved, but are also visible throughout the three counties of Northwest Indiana.

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

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Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area

Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area is a protected area that covers 12,134 acres (4,910 ha) and is dedicated to providing hunting and fishing opportunities. The area includes 529 acres (214 ha) of lakes and 17 miles (27 km) along the Pigeon River. It is located on Indiana State Road 3, near Mongo in Lagrange County, Indiana. The Fish and Wildlife Area contains Tamarack Bog Nature Preserve, a 150-acre (61 ha) wetland parcel that has been designated as a National Natural Landmark.

Grandma Lake Wetlands State Natural Area

Grandma Lake Wetlands State Natural Area is a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-designated State Natural Area featuring the undeveloped, pristine 44-acre Grandma Lake, which lies in a depression formed during the last glacial period. The lake is ringed by a large, open sphagnum bog mat. The bog mat is surrounded by a coniferous swamp of tamarack and black spruce. The bog mat supports a plant community that is considered diverse and unusual, with several rare species present, including: bog arrow-grass, dragon's mouth orchid, livid sedge, small-headed bog sedge, as well as one of only a few known populations of bog rush in the State of Wisconsin. In 1991, the US Forest Service designated the site as a Research Natural Area. Also, the site is listed as one of Wisconsin's Wetland Gems, by the Wisconsin Wetlands Association.

The Espy Bog is wetland complex in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is situated near Bloomsburg and Espy. The wetlands contain a lake, as well as forested swamps, shrub swamps, and graminoid openings. The lake in the wetland complex may be manmade. The predominant soil in the area is known as mucky peat. The wetland complex has a high level of plant and animal biodiversity, including birds, turtles, fish, trees, shrubs, and ferns.

The Mantua Bog State Nature Preserve is a 104.8-acre (42.4 ha) protected wetland in Mantua Township, Portage County in the U.S. state of Ohio. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1976 and a state nature preserve in 1990. The national landmark designation encompasses 285 acres (115 ha) which includes Marsh Wetlands State Nature Preserve, in addition to Mantua Bog State Nature Preserve.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Wauconda Bog Nature Preserve". Illinois Department of Natural Resources . Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  2. 1 2 "Wauconda Bog Nature Preserve". nps.gov. National Park Service.