Species Recovery

Recovery includes assessing and managing State-listed species and other Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) to maintain populations and improve their conservation status in Illinois. 


What is the recovery process?

The IDNR has developed a recovery process to deliberately and strategically engage in species management to maintain or enhance wildlife and plant populations in Illinois.  This approach is a recursive framework that assesses species and identifies, implements, and evaluates conservation actions for key species.  The recovery process has three phases:

  1. Species Status Assessment - Species distribution, abundance, and demographic information is used to develop a contemporary assessment of condition and identify trends in status.
  2. Conservation Planning - Approaches are developed to address information needs, threats, stressors, and limiting factors based on the Status Assessment.  These are summarized in a planning report.
  3. Action Implementation – Actions are selected from those identified in the planning report, and an implementation schedule is developed.  Monitoring is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the actions.  This information is then used to update and revise the species status assessment.


What is the goal of the recovery process?

The goal of the recovery process is to maintain or improve populations of native species in Illinois.  The process uses an adaptive management approach to assess species, identify conservation actions, prioritize resources, and communicate with partners.  The recovery process facilitates coordination between IDNR and conservation partners and identifies responsibilities and standards for those engaged in species recovery.


Who is engaged in the recovery process and what are their roles?

An IDNR staff person will be designated as Species Lead for each species that is in some stage of the recovery process.  A Species Lead serves as a point of contact for activities related to the species, manages the Recovery Team, facilitates communication and collaboration with those engaged in recovery actions, and provides progress reports to the IDNR Endangered Species Program.  A Recovery Team is comprised of IDNR staff and other individuals engaged in recovery of a focal species and/or with relevant knowledge and resources.  Recovery Team members collaborate on species status assessments, develop conservation planning reports, and advise implementors.  


 The Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR/Department) work together on endangered and threatened species recovery planning and while the ESPB may assist, the IDNR is the lead agency responsible for implementing recovery actions.

It is the ESPB's authority to determine whether, based on scientific evidence, animal and plant species are Illinois endangered or threatened. The ESPB is required to review and revise the Illinois List of Endangered and Threatened Species (Illinois List) as warranted, but no less often than every five years. Relative to this authority and duty, Illinois Endangered and Threatened Species Recovery Plans (Illinois E&T Recovery Plans) require ESPB approval. Other parties may elect to develop recovery plans without ESPB approval; however, in conducting any of its business, the ESPB may not consider described recovery activities and status review measures contained in plans other than those approved by the ESPB. 


ESPB Endangered and Threatened Animal Translocation Policy 

Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, ESPB, and IDNR Plant Translocation and Restoration Policy