The mission of the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board (Board) is to protect those species of plants and animals native to Illinois which are in danger of being lost from the wild in Illinois.
While administratively housed at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (Department), the Board is a separate entity from the Department. By law, the Board is responsible for determining which plant and animal species are threatened or endangered in the state and advising the Department on methods of assistance, protection, conservation and management of those species and their habitat, and on related matters.
The Board was created by the passage of the Endangered Species Protection Act in 1972. The Board consists of nine members who are appointed by the Governor, and the Director of the Department (or his designee) as a non-voting member. By law, the members include at least two zoologists, two ecologists, and one botanist. The Board convenes meetings quarterly, generally alternating locations throughout the state. These meetings are open to the public.
Board staff, based in Springfield, coordinate and represent the Board on a daily basis. Board staff work closely with the Department and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.
ILLINOIS LIST: The Illinois List of threatened and endangered species is reviewed, and revised as necessary, at least once every five years. The first Illinois List was published in 1981. Since then, there have been six 5-year reviews and revisions of the entire List, as well as some administrative and editorial revisions, resulting in the current (2011) List of 484 endangered and threatened species. (Coming soon - an additional ESPB website page dedicated to the Illinois List that will provide more information about the List review and revision process, including information about the review and revision process currently underway and expected to conclude in 2014.)
Changes to the List - By law, changes to the list must be based on scientific evidence. Factors that are considered when evaluating a species include changes in population size, changes in range in the state, whether it occurs at protected sites, any known threats to its existence, as well as features of its life history which might have a bearing on survival. The Board may remove from the Illinois List any non-federally-listed species for which it finds satisfactory scientific evidence that its wild or natural populations are no longer endangered or threatened in Illinois. A public hearing is held to consider the Board’s action of listing, delisting, or changing the listing status of a species.
Technical Expert Consultants - The Board seeks input from technical advisors who have expertise in plants, invertebrate animals, fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. These scientists advise the Board regarding the status of various species, possible revisions to the Illinois List, and areas or species that may require additional research or data collection.
Research and Surveys - The Board may fund research projects to gather information about various species that will contribute to listing decisions or conservation strategies. Board staff conduct and participate in many field surveys annually to monitor the status of endangered and threatened plants and animals.