INHS scientists contribute critical biological expertise necessary to help state agencies like the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority comply with state and federal environmental regulations, while also preserving habitats and species. INHS scientists conduct environmental assessments across the state monitoring plants, animals, ecosystems, and habitats, as well as restoration, maintenance, and early detection of various environmental threats.
Transportation infrastructure support
Biological Surveys and Assessment Program
The Biological Surveys and Assessment Program (BSAP) works with the Illinois Department of Transportation to minimize the effects of road building and maintenance on local plants and animals, specifically threatened and endangered species. This program conducts field surveys of plants and animals to minimize adverse impacts on species and their habitats. It is also active in mitigation and restoration projects and conducts studies and research related to the ecology and conservation of Illinois plants, animals, and their habitats.
Wetland Science Program
The Wetland Science Program works closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation to identify, protect, maintain, and restore wetlands in Illinois. This program performs wetland surveys and wetland delineations; monitors and evaluates the rehabilitation, restoration, and creation of wetlands; and conducts studies in the field of wetlands science. Areas of expertise include ecology and conservation of wetland ecosystems, wetland plant ecology, and wetland soil science.
Urban Biotic Assessment Program
The Urban Biotic Assessment Program (UBAP) provides the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (the Tollway) with the ecological expertise necessary to comply with state and federal environmental regulations, while also preserving habitats and species native to the greater Chicago Region. The program also works with the Tollway to assess mitigation strategies, apply best management practices, monitor wetland mitigation sites, survey endangered and threatened species, and identify invasive plants. Finally, the program collects the necessary primary data for direct application to conservation initiatives of rare and declining biota in the region.
Critical Trends Assessment Program
The Critical Trends Assessment Program (CTAP) is a long-term endeavor that monitors the condition of forests, wetlands, and grasslands and focuses specifically on plant, bird, and arthropod communities throughout Illinois. This project seeks to assess changes in ecological conditions as well as to serve as a baseline from which to compare regional and site-specific patterns throughout the state. This program is unique because it is the first-ever attempt at a statewide comprehensive assessment undertaken by a state natural resource organization (Illinois Department of Natural Resources).
Invasive & Pest Species Surveys
Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program
Illinois’ central geographic location and our superior transportation systems give us significant advantages in trade, commerce, and tourism, but these also create high-risk pathways for the introduction of invasive pests. The Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) program focuses on the early detection of these pests through surveys of both the pathways of potential introduction and the commodities they can impact. The CAPS program works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine and the Illinois Department of Agriculture. If pests are detected, surveys are then conducted to determine the extent of the area occupied by the pest. Depending on the pest, eradication plans are put in place.
Read more about INHS work on invasive and pest species.