Challenge and Opportunities

Copyright 2006, Michael Graziano

Ringed salamander, Ambystoma annulatum

The northern portions of Washington County tend to be cave bearing hills and rolling prairie lands of the Springfield Plateau, having thin organic soil over residual cherty, red clay soils overlying limestone. The forested hills of the remainder are often capped with sandstone overlying shale beds. Such geological diversity offers awe-inspiring vistas, springs and seasonal wetlands in the vestigial prairie lands, and clear tributaries to the Illinois and White Rivers. It also supports diverse plant and animal life, some of the rarer and more fragile forms being found in caves, springs, or wetlands. Throughout the County springs were household water sources for many families; some are still used for this purpose.

Much of Washington County is in transition from farm to urban or sub-urban. This challenging time requires changes in traditional thinking about everything from schools and roads to how one neighbor affects another. In 2007 the Washington County Quorum Court enacted county-wide zoning making thoughtful development possible. This is an excellent opportunity to conserve the important vestiges of the scene of today.

Now is the time for Washington County to Conserve Natural and Agricultural Areas!

All of these incredible assets are what brought generations of families to Washington County, but they are vulnerable and being lost daily. These assets are the County’s unique and priceless natural heritage and they are irreplaceable. There is much to gain and nothing lose by taking action now. There is little time to do it.