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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Chicago FWS Office Leads Working Group to Conserve Endangered Dragonfly

Region 3, October 18, 2012
Dr. Meredith Mahoney presents results of her research on Hine's emerald dragonfly genetics.
Dr. Meredith Mahoney presents results of her research on Hine's emerald dragonfly genetics. - Photo Credit: n/a

A 12.5 mile extension of I-355 in the Chicago metro area provided the impetus for forming a working group to plan and carry out conservation for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana). In the western suburbs of Chicago, this six-lane interstate extension crosses the lower Des Plaines River valley where wetlands intersected by the highway bridge are home to the endangered dragonfly. During project planning for the new six-lane bridge, the Service's Chicago Office worked closely with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (the construction agency) and the Corps of Engineers (the permitting agency). The Highway Authority incorporated conservation measures into the project design including creation of a Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly Working Group. The Working Group(1) has over 17 stakeholders that include regulatory agencies, three county Forest Preserve Districts (which own the restoration sites), and representatives from academia and the private sector.

The Working Group collaborated in the early stages of consultation and before construction to identify habitat that needed to be assessed and surveyed. They then planned and carried out the approved conservation measures that included specifics of habitat restoration, genetics research and development of a captive rearing program for introduction into successfully created and restored habitat. Not only does this work mitigate the impacts to the dragonfly from construction of the I-355 bridge, but information from the restorations and research will help recover Hine’s throughout its range. Since its inception, the Working Group has met monthly during the field season to plan habitat restoration and review implementation of conservation measures. The group also meets annually to discuss accomplishments, future activities and results from surveying, monitoring and genetic analysis. They have expanded the annual meeting as a webinar that is made available to partners across the range of the Hine’s. This year’s meeting included over 60 stakeholders from 19 organizations across five states with presentations on research done on the species across its range.

(1)The Hine’s emerald Dragonfly Work Group Members: USFWS (Chicago Field Office), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Chicago District), Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Museum, University of South Dakota, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, EarthTech, CTE, Inc., V3 Consultants, Forest Preserve Districts of Will, Cook, and DuPage Counties, DuPage County Department of Environmental Concerns, Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District, and K-Plus Inc.

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