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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

USFWS' Chicago Office Partners with Will County on Habitat Management for Two Endangered Species

Region 3, October 16, 2012
Invasive vegetation blanketed the bluff before clearing.
Invasive vegetation blanketed the bluff before clearing. - Photo Credit: n/a
After invasive vegetation was cleared, plugs of native vegetation were planted.
After invasive vegetation was cleared, plugs of native vegetation were planted. - Photo Credit: n/a
A view of the area after restoration.
A view of the area after restoration. - Photo Credit: n/a

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Chicago Field Office entered into a cooperative agreement with the Forest Preserve District of Will County to fund habitat management for two endangered species, expanding on restoration efforts at Keepataw Preserve funded by Chicago Wilderness and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. A remnant wet dolomite prairie supports a population of leafy prairie clover (Dalea foliosa), and foraging habitat for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana).

The leafy prairie clover population at Keepataw Preserve is estimated to contain 665 individuals and is among the largest known for the species. However, it remains highly localized and vulnerable to habitat degradation from non-native vegetation invasion. Habitat management will address invasive reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and common reed (Phragmites australis) that pose threats to the clover population.

The Forest Preserve District of Will County owns a portion of the bluff face and slope (~15 acres) immediately above the wet dolomite prairie. This area was formerly farmed or grazed and has turned into a thicket of invasive trees and brush. Invasive brush has been removed to facilitate the re-establishment of native communities; this will promote maintenance of groundwater levels in the wet dolomite prairie and along the base of the bluff. This work will expand and buffer suitable habitat for leafy prairie clover and the Hine’s emerald dragonfly.

Contact Info: Kristopher Lah, (847) 381-2253 ext.15, Kristopher_Lah@fws.gov