Assessment of wetland restoration as a climate change adaptation for water sustainability in the Grand Kankakee watershed

  • Funded By: USFWS and USGS
  • ECI Investigators: Diogo Bolster, Alan Hamlet, Mark Schurr, Jason Mclachan
  • Partners: Chicago Wilderness & Field Museum, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, National Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


By modeling the hydrology and ecology of the Kankakee River watershed, historically, at present, and under climate change projections, the project team hopes to guide restoration in the proposed Grand Kankakee Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.  In addition, this modeling will help decision-makers better understand the impact of habitat restoration on ecosystem services, agriculture, urbanization, and sportsman and recreational interests for the watershed.  The Kankakee watershed is a key restoration project as past hydrologic alterations caused significant ecosystem service disruption, including one of the greatest losses of waterfowl habitat in North America.

The project team includes researchers at Notre Dame, USGS – Great Lakes Science Center, the Field Museum and USGS - Indiana Water Science Center.  Using several models, the team is currently testing various scenarios for restoration.  Each scenario results in individual and aggregate values of ecosystems services for ground water recharge, surface water storage, waterfowl habitat, and sportsman/recreational use.  The team is developing decision support tools to guide successful wetland and waterfowl habitat restoration even under projected changes in climate and land use.

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