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Illinois IBA Contact

Stephanie Beilke

Illinois IBAs by Type

IBA Priority Number Acres
Global 16 147,232
State 74 738,132
Total 90 885,364

Initiated in the fall of 2000, the Important Bird Areas Program in Illinois currently has 91 recognized IBAs. These sites are located in all regions of the state and represent various types of ownership and habitat. Breeding birds at IBAs include Henslow's Sparrows, Greater Prairie-chickens and Blue-winged Warblers in prairies and shrublands, Red-headed Woodpeckers in savannas, and Worm-eating Warblers in our southern woodlands. Hundreds of thousand of ducks use the Illinois and Mississippi River stopover sites. Numerous national wildlife refuges, national forests, state natural areas, state wildlife management areas, state parks, county forest preserves, Nature Conservancy and other non-profit preserves as well as important private lands are part of the program. Illinois, the Prairie State, has lost over 99% of its original prairie and 90% of its original wetland acreage. These and other habitat losses have lead to sharp declines in many bird populations. Of the eleven fastest declining grassland and shrubland birds in the nation, seven spend either their winter or summer months in Illinois. Illinois' IBAs focus attention on the most important sites for breeding birds of conservation concern, and on places where shorebirds, raptors, waterfowl and wading birds congregate. Active partnerships are currently engaged in conservation activities, monitoring, and outreach efforts at many IBAs throughout the state. Thorn Creek Audubon partnered with the Cook County Forest Preserves to restore 375 acres for Bobolinks, Grasshopper Sparrows and other bird species at Bartel Grassland. The newly formed Swainson's Hawk Project organized a monitoring effort to locate the breeding territories of our important remnant population. The Wetlands Initiative's Hennepin and Hopper Lakes IBA recognition ceremony celebrated the conversion of 1,000 acres of unproductive Illinois River farmland back to thriving wetland and grassland habitat. The Illinois Audubon Society provided acquisition funds and education efforts at the state's prairie chicken sanctuaries. Partnering organizations have utilized the IBA program as a tool to advance bird conservation efforts across the state.

Site Name Statussort descending Priority Counties IBA Criteria
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Recognized Global Will D1
Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge Recognized Global Mason D4ii, D4iii
Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area Recognized State Cass, Mason, Schuyler D4ii, D4iii
Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area Recognized State Peoria D4v
Mississippi Palisades State Park Recognized Global Carroll D1, D4vi
Anderson Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Recognized State Fulton, Schuyler D4ii
Pekin Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Recognized State Tazewell D4iii
Great River NWR - Long Island Division Recognized State Adams, Calhoun, Mercer, Pike, Rock Island D4ii, D4iii, D4v
Goose Lake Prairie State Park Recognized Global Grundy D1
Lake Calumet Area Recognized State Cook D1
Chicago Lakefront Recognized Global Cook D4vii
Bartel Grassland Recognized State Cook
Lost Mound Unit, Savanna District of the Upper Mississippi River NWR Recognized State Carroll, Jo Daviess D1, D4ii, D4iii, D4vi
Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area Recognized State Fulton D4v
Meredosia Lake Recognized Global Cass, Morgan D4ii
Grassy Slough Preserve Recognized State Johnson D1
Oakwood Bottoms, Shawnee National Forest Recognized State Jackson D1, D4ii, D4v
Castle Rock State Park and Lowden-Miller SF Recognized Global Ogle D1
Iroquois County State Conservation Area Recognized Global Iroquois D1
Cache River SNA Recognized Global Johnson, Pulaski