Press Release
Illinois chorus frog populations found stable, not warranted for Endangered Species Act listing
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We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are announcing a not warranted 12-month finding on a petition to list the Illinois chorus frog under the Endangered Species Act. Using the best available science, we conducted a Species Status Assessment to inform our listing determination and found that the species is not at risk of extinction now or in the foreseeable future. The Illinois chorus frog is found in remnant sand prairies, sand savannas, and other deposits of sand and sandy soils in west-central Illinois, southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. 

“After a thorough assessment of the Illinois chorus frog’s status, we found the species is well distributed through its historical range, and is still abundant in occupied areas,” said Kristen Lundh, fish and wildlife biologist. “We will continue to work with partners to monitor this species.” 

The Illinois chorus frog is a small, buff-colored frog. This unassuming amphibian measures about an inch and a half long, weighs about as much as a quarter and spends most of the year below ground buried in sand. Known as a habitat specialist, the Illinois chorus frog requires fine, sandy soils for foraging and overwintering as well as seasonally flooded wetlands to reproduce. 

In 2012 the Center for Biological Diversity and others petitioned to list 53 species of amphibians and reptiles, including the Illinois chorus frog, as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In 2015, we found that that petition presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing may be warranted, and we began a species status assessment.  

We evaluated the past, present and future threats to the Illinois chorus frog, including habitat loss, sand mining, climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

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, flooding and disease. Despite impacts from threats like habitat loss and climate change, we found that Illinois chorus frog has maintained resilient populations throughout its range. Although we predict some continued impacts from these threats in the future, we anticipate the species will continue to maintain resilient populations. 

These frogs require ephemeral, or temporary, shallow wetlands for successful breeding. These wetlands capture water in the springtime and dry up mid-summer making them unsuitable for predatory fish that would consume tadpoles. The wetlands need to be located in or near habitat with sandy soils where the frogs bury into the sand, forage and overwinter. 

The Illinois chorus frog remains a state threatened species in Illinois. Monitoring by state agencies in Illinois and Missouri and by Arkansas State University have been critical in collecting the necessary scientific data to make a well-informed decision.  

The Service’s 12-month finding on the petition to list Illinois chorus frog under the Endangered Species Act and supporting information for the decision can be accessed in the Federal Register under Document Number 2023-15621 with Docket Number FWS-R3-ES-2023-0040. 

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