Assessing Population Viability

We are assessing population viability and habitat preference to produce habitat suitability models for Illinois state threatened species, Eastern Sand Darter and River Redhorse. Our objective is to evaluate the distribution, abundance, and habitat preferences of these two species in the Embarras and Kankakee Rivers, respectively. We will also identify possible effects of human disturbances and include this data in the habitat suitability models for each species in their respective watersheds. Additional species and GIS-level data will be used to predict the potential distribution throughout the state. The modeling effort will be expanded to include two additional darter species and two redhorse species, respectively, to assess ecological niche partitioning with our targeted species. These models will be used to inform the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on the distribution and population viability of these two state threatened species, engaging the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan goals and efforts through their Streams Campaign, and conservation planning for Species in Greatest Conservation Need.