Chicago Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region


Chicago Field Office

230 South Dearborn St.,

Suite 2938

Chicago, Illinois 60604
Phone: 312-216-4720

FAX: 312-216-1788
TTY: 1-800-877-8339
(Federal Relay)


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2016 News


Birders and Tennis Club members work together to plant bird-friendly habitat.

Photo bu USFWS

Bird-friendly habitat created along Lake Michigan shoreline

September 2016

Songbirds migrating along the shorelines of Lake Michigan in spring and fall will find food and shelter thanks to the efforts of a group of caring volunteers in Illinois. This fall, more than 346 volunteers planted approximately 20,000 flowering trees and shrubs, wildflowers and native grasses at a Lake Michigan shoreline park to benefit migrating birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with the Wilmette Park District and the Ouilmette Foundation to create bird-friendly native plant gardens at Gillson Park in Wilmette, Illinois. The gardens were thoughtfully designed with native plants chosen for their ability to provide abundant insects and berries for migrating birds, laid out in a design that urban residents would find attractive.


In a great show of community spirit, the volunteer workers included Go Green Wilmette, girl scouts, boy scouts, Rotary Club, Little Garden Club of Wilmette, North Shore Bird Club, Gillson Birders, Evanston Treekeepers, Gillson Triathletes, Interfaith Community, Logic Lawn Care, Chalet Nursery, Wilmette International Club, Wilmette Historical Society, a coffee shop, tennis players, neighbors, the Sailing Club and other supporters! U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funding was provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through the Great Lakes Coastal Program.


The gardens designed by the native landscaping firm Living Habitats and planted by the Gillson Park community will provide needed shelter and food for thousands of colorful songbirds that stop at this park each spring and fall on their long journeys between their summer nesting grounds to the north and their wintering grounds in the south. Migration is the most perilous time of year for warblers and other songbirds, and the park’s location along Lake Michigan makes it a particularly valuable place to provide food and shelter for exhausted birds as they head to land after a night of flying over Lake Michigan.


By Louise Clemency

Chicago Ecological Services







Service applauds Commonwealth Edison for
eastern prairie fringed orchid recovery efforts






U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Determines

Critical Habitat is Not Prudent for

Threatened Northern Long-eared Bats

Hibernating northern long-eared bat.

Hibernating northern long-eared bat.

Photo courtesy of Dave Thomas/Creative Commons License


Determination based on desire to reduce potential disturbance at hibernation sites, habitat requirements of species, and acknowledgement of white-nose syndrome as primary threat


April 25, 2016

Given the nature of the primary threats facing the species and the potential harm of publishing its hibernation locations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that designating critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is not prudent. The Service’s determination does not affect the bat’s threatened status, which it received in 2015 due to white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease impacting cave-dwelling bats.


Critical habitat is a designation under the ESA for lands that contain habitat features that are essential for the survival and recovery of a listed species, which may require special management considerations or protections. The ESA requires the Service to consider which areas are needed for a species’ recovery and to designate critical habitat accordingly, unless it determines that doing so is not prudent for the species.


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Northern Long-eared Bat Home



  • April 14, 2016: Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for Midwest Wind Energy Promotes Coordinated Industry Engagement in Conservation of At-Risk Species

    • News Release

    • Midwest Wind HCP


    Indiana Bats



  • Just in from Chicago . . .


Hine's emerald dragonfly eggs





Hunting for an Elusive Orchid

SCA intern Clair with flowering eastern prairie fringed orchid

SCA intern Clair with flowering eastern prairie fringed orchid

Photo by USFWS


February 1, 2016


Open Spaces is featuring posts by Student Conservation Association (SCA) interns working to promote, protect and study wildlife on public lands all over the United States. Since 1957, SCA has been connecting young people from all backgrounds with life-changing, career-making conservation service opportunities. Learn how you can get involved at Today, Claire Ellwanger checks in from the Chicago Ecological Services Office.


The search for orchids had begun. We were crouched on our hands and knees one day last summer, enveloped in humidity and prairie grasses. As we rustled the sedges and grasses, the mosquitoes floated up to surround us. We searched exhaustively on the ground where orchids had been seen in the last couple of years, sadly to no avail.


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Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid Home





Protections Finalized for Threatened Northern Long-Eared Bats

Northern long-eared bat showing symptoms of white-nose syndrome.


January 14, 2016


In an effort to conserve the northern long-eared bat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final rule today that uses flexibilities under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to tailor protections to areas affected by white-nose syndrome during the bat’s most sensitive life stages. The rule is designed to protect the bat while minimizing regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies and others within the species’ range.


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Northern Long-eared Bat Home




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Last updated: January 17, 2017