Chicago Illinois Field Office
The Chicago Field Office protects migratory birds, federally-listed endangered species, and their supporting habitats from the effects of pollutants in the six-county Chicago metropolitan area.
The large human population and high development density in the Chicago area often results in pollutant levels that harm wildlife and degrade wildlife habitats. Our office works to ensure that pollution clean-up standards are set at levels that will protect sensitive wildlife species.
Fish and wildlife are often injured by pollutants at lower levels than humans because they remain in constant contact with their environment. Wildlife may be exposed to pollutants in soil, air, water, and food for extended periods of time at a contaminated site. We use the latest toxicity research to set pollution cleanup levels that are safe for wildlife and the environment.
The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have authority to act as trustee for natural resources injured by the release of hazardous substances. The trustee authority is defined in the following federal laws:
Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund)
Clean Water Act
Oil Pollution Act
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Chicago Field Office works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to ensure that clean ups initiated under the Superfund program at hazardous waste sites are protective of wildlife and the environment. Our office also works with USEPA to ensure that discharges authorized under the Clean Water Act do not impact fish, wildlife, or the environment. Additional information on these acts and on environmental regulations is available at the U.S. EPA Laws and Regulations website and the Service's Congressional and Legislative Affairs website.
The Chicago Field Office provides technical assistance to the public as well as to other federal, state and local agencies. The assistance involves procedures for protecting wildlife from the effects of pollutants such as pesticides, spilled chemicals and hazardous wastes. We also provide assistance to those interested in restoring wildlife habitats degraded by pollutants.
Spill/ Die-Off Response
The Chicago Field Office investigates major wildlife kills that may be attributable to chemical exposure or disease.
Natural Resource Damage Assessments
The extent of injury to natural resources from a release of hazardous substances is determined using a process called Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). This process is designed to allow federal trustees and state trustees to determine the restoration and damages that will be required from the responsible party to compensate the public for the loss of natural resources. Modeling, chemical analysis and toxicity testing are used to evaluate a release and to prepare a case.
Additional information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Natural Resource Damage Assessment program is available on our agency website at Environmental Contaminants Program.
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
The Chicago Field Office is assisting in the conversion of the former Joliet Army Arsenal into the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. The former munitions manufacturing site is contaminated with explosives, heavy metals and other pollutants. We are working with federal and state agencies to ensure that the clean up levels are protective of wildlife. Additional information is available at the Midewin website.
For additional information on the environmental contaminants program of the Chicago Field Office please contact Edward Karecki at 847-381-2253 ext. 14.