Kane County Leaders Strive to Protect Fens

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Byline: Alicia Fabbre Daily Herald Staff Writer

Kane County Board members are trying to find ways to keep developers from choking off some of the county's rarest wetlands.

After adopting an ordinance regulating how developers handle flood water, board member Don Rage Tuesday suggested the county needed laws to protect fens and the land around them.

Although the new ordinance protects wetlands and fens, the law does not preclude developers from building on the "recharge" area around a fen that provides the crucial groundwater that keep them vital, Rage said.

A fen is a type of a wetland that is made up of oxygen-deprived groundwater that is charged with minerals such as calcium. The conditions help breed rare plants.

"They are probably the highest protected wetlands," said Rage, a Republican from Sleepy Hollow. "Yet (the ordinance) falls short on protecting the recharge area that is associated with the fen."

He said forest preserve officials have identified more than 40 fens in Kane County. The recharge area for fens often can take up several acres, Rage said.

Although the county's stormwater ordinance protects fens, county board members likely will adopt a different law to protect recharge areas. …