Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon is recongizing two wetlands along the Illinois River for their importance to conservation. The Dixon Waterfowl Refuge near Hennepin and the Emiquon Complex near Lewistown received the Ramsar designation earlier this year. The international designation highlights efforts to restore both sites to their natural states. Simon says the international designation can also help boost tourism for the region:
"This is something worth coming to. This is worth going out of your way. Don't just fly into O'Hare. Fly there, rent the car, drive down. This is worth the trip for people internationally and its certainly worth the trip for those of us who are lucky enough to live in Illinois."
Both sites had to meet at least one of nine criteria to receive the designation. They include supporting a specific number of waterbirds and other plants and animal species. 34 sites in the United States have the Ramsar designation.
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