In the mid-1970s, the State of Illinois conducted the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) which was the first comprehensive statewide inventory of natural areas in the U.S. Thirty years later in 2007, AES worked with Illinois DNR and partners to undertake the inventory again with the end product being a fully digital database of site maps, associated vegetation community type and quality boundaries, species lists and other survey data collected at the sites.
The project had two parallel tracks. The first track focused on re-evaluating approximately 660 Illinois Natural Area sites throughout the state that were identified as high quality natural areas in the original 1970s inventory project. A second track focused on discovering and assessing potential new qualifying INAI sites that were missed by the original project – more than 2,000 sites.
In both tracks, AES ecologists evaluated the quality of vegetation communities, identified Threatened and Endangered (T&E) species, and entered all data in a custom-developed GIS database with associated mapping and photo-documentation of each site.
Data collected from both parts of the project were processed by AES and compiled into a comprehensive GIS database. The statewide database was delivered to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 2011. It is now used for all permit reviews conducted by their staff. For more information, click here.
- Natural Resource Inventory
- Threatened and Endangered Species
- Ecological Assessment
- GIS desktop and field mapping technology
- Database Development and maintenance
- Aerial reconnaissance
- Land Owner Contact
- Aerial photography and interpretation
- Qualitative/Quantitative Vegetation Survey
Illinois Natural Areas Inventory