Going, Going, Gone

by Carl Strang

The drought we have been experiencing this summer in Illinois has taken its toll on the marshes at Mayslake Forest Preserve. On Monday of last week I took a panorama series of the stream corridor marsh to show how small the pool had become.

The west end

The center

The east end

At that point the pool was perhaps 30 feet wide and 50 feet long, but only inches deep. By Friday it was nearly gone.

At this point a single photo was sufficient to show perhaps 50 square feet of a pool only an inch or two deep.

Monday of this week, but a puddle remained.

Perhaps 5 square feet by less than an inch of depth.

On Tuesday it was gone.

Damp soil only marked the center of the marsh.

The basin was punctuated by the whitened shells of crayfish.

When will this marsh again see white river crayfish?

Some residents could emigrate easily, some could bury themselves and become dormant, but others could not, and when the water eventually returns the community will need to reconstruct itself.

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2 Comments

  1. Green Gal said,

    July 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Aww the photo of the crayfish skeletons is so sad. I hope water returns to the pond soon. Great visual reminder of what drought means for those of us who live in suburban areas where the only indication of drought is yellow lawns (the lawns probably make drought worse in places like where you live since they use so much unnecessary water…)

  2. December 31, 2012 at 6:51 am

    […] For months now I have included a walk into the center of the stream corridor marsh at Mayslake Forest Preserve in my weekly rounds. When would water return? As I have documented this past year, the drought dried up the marsh, with the last surface water vanishing in mid-July. […]


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