The mission of the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB/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.
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 Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR/Department) as a non-voting member. By law, the members include at least six naturalists, including at least two zoologists, two ecologists, and one botanist.
While administratively housed at the Department, the Board is a separate entity from the Department.
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.
PRIMARY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD:
- The Board is required to review and revise the Illinois List of Endangered and Threatened Species (Illinois List) as warranted, but not less often than every five years.
Illinois List - The Board may list, as endangered or threatened, species of animals or plants which have reproduced in or otherwise significantly use, as in migration or overwintering, the area which is now the State of Illinois, if there is scientific evidence that the species qualify as endangered or threatened as defined by the Act. Federally designated endangered and threatened species are automatically placed on the Illinois List. The first Illinois List was published in 1981. Since then, there have been seven 5-year reviews and revisions of the entire List, as well as some administrative and editorial revisions, resulting in the current (2015) Illinois List of 480 endangered and threatened species. Follow this link for information about the Illinois List.
Illinois List Review - The Board's listing decisions 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. Follow this link for information about the Illinois List review and revision process, and the most recent and upcoming Illinois List reviews.
Illinois List Revision - Changes to the Illinois List must be based on scientific evidence. 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 receive comments and evidence before the Board finalizes its listing decisions. Follow this link for information about the Illinois List review and revision process.
Research and Surveys - Board staff conduct and participate in field surveys and research to monitor the status of endangered and threatened plants and animals to gather information for both the Board’s review and revision of the Illinois List and in advising the IDNR on the conservation of E&T species. When the Board has adequate funding, it may also fund research projects and surveys.
Recovery Planning - The Board develops endangered and threatened species recovery planning documents in coordination with the IDNR. Recovery planning documents are used in both the Board’s review and revision of the Illinois List and in advising the IDNR on the conservation of E&T species. Both agencies also work together in implementing recovery actions.
- The Board is required to advise the Department on methods of assistance, protection, conservation and management of Endangered and Threatened (E&T) species and their habitat, and on related matters.
- The Department is required to seek the advice of the Board as it plans and implements its Endangered Species Conservation Program.
- The Department is required to seek the advice of the Board and provide written response to any Board comments regarding the issuance and terms of authorization for incidental taking of E&T Species.
These three requirements all relate to the business of the Board advising the IDNR on the conservation of E&T species and their habitats and related matters including new or proposed changes to policies, regulations, and laws. Indeed, constituents and the general public expect the Department to ask for and consider the advice of the Board as called for in the Act. This division of responsibility is vital in maintaining the objectivity and credibility of Illinois’ overall endangered species conservation.
- The Board is required to hold meetings no less often than quarterly.
- The Board is required to produce and make available a report of accomplishments biennially.
- The Department is required to consult with and gain written approval of the Board when promulgating Administrative Rules on E&T Species Permits.