Digital Access

Digital Access
Access theherald-news.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, sports, business, classified and more! News you can use every day.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Have our latest news, sports and obituaries emailed directly to you Monday through Friday so you can keep up with what's happening in the area.
Pets

Audubon releases grasslands report for Chicago area

Read how land management practices are affecting birds

Audubon recently released the first ever State of the Grasslands Report: Chicago Wilderness - 2018, a survey of current grassland habitat in the suburbs and collar counties of Chicago.

This is the first time that this endangered ecosystem has been successfully quantified for the area and marks a significant step toward regionally coordinated land management practices that benefit grassland birds.

“We cannot bring back imperiled grassland birds without first understanding how specific land management actions impact their habitats,” Daniel Suarez, stewardship program manager for Audubon Great Lakes, said in a news release.

“This report is a turning point in grassland bird conservation because we finally have the foundation on which to build a richer understanding of this relationship, so that we can set bird and habitat conservation goals.”

Aside from providing habitat that allows birds such as bobolinks, Eastern meadowlarks, grasshopper sparrows, Henslow’s sparrows, and sedge wrens to thrive, grasslands that can sustain nesting these species will also provide valuable “ecosystem services” to surrounding communities such as flood protection, groundwater recharge, water purification and carbon storage.

Illinois was nicknamed the “Prairie State” because grasslands used to be abundant, but today, only 0.01 percent of the state’s original prairie remains. Those few remaining acres, however, still have the potential to bring back threatened and endangered bird species.

According to recent data, Henslow’s sparrow and bobolink populations appear to be rebounding where committed local landowners and volunteer stewards are creating healthy grassland habitat.

“It’s exciting that small patches of restored grassland can collectively have a big impact,” Stephanie Beilke, conservation science associate for Audubon Great Lakes, “The work being done here in Chicago can potentially serve as a model for success across our region, it’s a ray of hope for our grassland birds.”

Loading more