Introduction to Freedom of Information (FOIA)
FOIA is the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140), records in possession of public agencies may be accessed by the public upon written request. Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140, Section 2 (c), a public record is any records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communication, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used, received, in possession of or under the control of any public body.
Some records are, however, not available for disclosure via the FOIA process; these types of records are described under Section 7 of FOIA, specifically 5 ILCS 140, Section 7 (1) (a) through (y) and Section 7.5 (Statutory Exemptions). Some FOIA disclosures may also be restricted by confidentiality provisions imposed by other state and federal statutes, such as the Illinois Oil & Gas Act, the state Criminal Code, etc. The FOIA process does not supersede applicable statutory or judicial mandates concerning confidentiality, proprietary business/trade matters, a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy matters, etc.
The FOIA program for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is managed separately from similar FOIA programs of other state and/or federal government entities. The administrative regulations for the IDNR FOIA program is 2 Ill. Adm. Code 826. These regulations provide further details about the IDNR procedures for its FOIA program.
Access to IDNR Information
Each IDNR program office is relied upon for responding to FOIA requests. Prior to submitting a FOIA information request, you should search the IDNR website information concerning the various IDNR natural resources programs. Your search may help you:
To obtain information that is available through the website (e.g., pending mining permit applications);
To obtain information that is free and immediately available (e.g., printed educational pamphlets, posters, listings, directories, etc.);
To obtain information already available at a minimal fee (e.g., watercraft registrations);
To focus your information request by directing the FOIA request to the appropriate IDNR program(s);
To contact IDNR program staff who can answer questions and assist defining your written information request; or
To contact other state agency(s) that may also have relevant information.
IDNR Offices: Architecture, Engineering and Grants | Director's Office | Land Management (State Parks/Camping/outdoor recreation info) | Law Enforcement | Legal | Legislation | Mines & Minerals | Realty & Environmental Planning | Resource Conservation | State Museums | Strategic Services | Water Resources
How to Submit a FOIA Request
To access natural resources information from any IDNR program through the FOIA process, you need to submit a written request pursuant to the Illinois FOIA (5 ILCS 140). Although use of the FOIA request form is not required, the form provides information which will help IDNR process FOIA requests.
Your FOIA request may be submitted in writing by means of fax (217-785-2438), electronic correspondence, the US mail or special carrier. For US mail or special carrier, FOIA requests should be addressed to: Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Attn: FOIA Officer, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271
IDNR public records are maintained and organized by each separate IDNR program offices. These records may be organized by site location, facility name, grant/contract project, annual chronology, individual name, or date. Consequently, it is important to provide specific descriptive information when requesting information through the FOIA process in order to identify the appropriate IDNR office, file, database, archive, etc.
IDNR public records are also maintained in various media format that include paper, microfilm, digital images, and electronic records. In certain situations, information cannot be effectively extracted onto a paper or an electronic format. In those situations, special arrangements, such as on-site viewing or your use of commercial copy vendors, may be necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Commonly asked questions
of the IDNR's FOIA process are answered in this section.
This website information concerning the IDNR FOIA program is being provided as required by Section 4 of the FOIA (5 ILCS 140/4). This website information may be revised and/or updated in the future.