Decurrent false aster, sometimes know as false starwort, is a big river floodplain species. Populations of decurrent false aster have declined as wetlands have been drained and converted to agricultural crop production. It is listed ENDANGERED by the state of Missouri and THREATENED by the state of Illinois and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Decurrent false aster grows in wetlands, on the borders of marshes and lakes, and on the margins of bottomland oxbows and sloughs.
Historically, this plant was found in wet prairies, marshes, and along the shores of some rivers and lakes. Decurrent false aster favors recently disturbed areas and flooding may play a role in maintaining its habitat. Current habitats include riverbanks, old fields, roadsides, mudflats and lake shores.
I found a good amount of it growing in the field behind the trees along Banner Dike Road. This field is surrounded by a berm; it had beeen flooded until early summer this year, which may have helped the asters. I posted some photos of the lovely Decurrent False Asters in my Photo Album:
Looking at the site where I found the asters on an aerial map on Live Search Maps, I noticed a similar area in the center of the proposed mining site. I felt certain the field contained asters.
My husband and I took a walk down Prairie Lane Road to the field I'd seen on the map, and yes, it was covered with Decurrent false asters! I'm talking about an estimated 30 acres of this endangered plant in the center of the proposed mine site! I have reported this to to Environmental Bureau of the Illinois Attorney Generals office, and I have reported it to the IDNR. I have also updated my petition to the USFWS to include this information.
Please consider signing my petition to prevent this mining operation on this sensitive piece of land: