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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Abbott Laboratories Continues Its 21-Year Partnership with the USFWS Chicago Illinois Field Office in Recovery of the Federally Threatened Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid

Region 3, October 26, 2012
Eastern prairie fringed orchids bloom on property owned by Abbott Laboratories.
Eastern prairie fringed orchids bloom on property owned by Abbott Laboratories. - Photo Credit: n/a
Valerie Loos is the volunteer monitor of an eastern prairie fringed orchid population at Abbott Laboratories property.  A blooming orchid is visible in the foreground.
Valerie Loos is the volunteer monitor of an eastern prairie fringed orchid population at Abbott Laboratories property. A blooming orchid is visible in the foreground. - Photo Credit: n/a

The Abbott Laboratories pharmaceutical facility, located in Lake County, Illinois, supports two populations of the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid. One population (Abbott Park) is small (< 10 plants annually) and is considered a low-viability population. The second population is larger, with population numbers up to 105 blooming plants over the last 21 years. The viability status of both populations could increase with continued habitat management which would increase the population numbers and trend.

 

Over the years Abbott Labs has been consistent and proactive in providing funding and person power to restore and manage approximately 50 acres of native habitat on its land, which supports this orchid. Both orchid populations suffer from invasive species (dogwood, teasel, reed canary grass) and woody plant (buckthorn and dogwood) encroachment. Recently federal assistance was provided to help Abbott Labs continue the restoration and management of both native sedge meadow and mesic prairie habitat, plus provide additional stewardship services such as prescribed burning, brush control, and invasive species control through cutting and herbiciding. These actions help conserve and protect both plants and animals native to the area, manage and improve habitat of the eastern prairie fringed orchid, and provide conservation measures both on and off the directly affected lands.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is grateful for the continued long term support, commitment, and partnership from Abbott Labs and the company's continued efforts in working towards recovering this federally threatened plant.


 

Contact Info: Cathy Pollack, 847/381-2253 ext. 28, cathy_pollack@fws.gov