Eagle delisting moves forward
The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB) has finalized recommendations for a number of changes to the Illinois list of endangered and threatened plants and animals.
“The Board considered comments and information received and has approved as final the recommendations that were preliminarily discussed in November 2008, with the exception of one plant species,” said ESPB Chairman Dan Gooch.
The ESPB will now forward its final recommendations to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), which will conduct an internal review and then initiate the process for proposing changes to the Illinois Administrative Code, which renders the list as official.
“We look forward to reviewing the board’s final recommendations. This group is vitally important for the protection and sustainability of endangered species here in Illinois,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.
Including the new recommended changes, the total number of species on the state’s list of endangered and threatened species will remain at 483 species, however 14 species will be removed, 14 new species will be added, and the listing status will be changed for nine species. The previous list included 144 animals and 339 plants and the new 2009 list will include 151 animals and 332 plants.
Some of the additions include two invertebrates – the central forestfly and Madonna cave springtail – that are currently only known to occur at one location each and were added as endangered species. The ornate box turtle and black-billed cuckoo were added as threatened species.
Several species also were de-listed. The bald eagle, sandhill crane, Henslow’s sparrow, Richardson’s rush, and seaside crowfoot have all shown steady population increases in the state and are no longer considered to be threatened within the state. On the down side, two plants – marsh St. John’s wort and white mountain mint – were removed from the list because they are no longer found in the state.
Click here for a complete list of the changes approved as final at the ESPB meeting on Feb. 20.