Access Our Data
General Species Information
Explore NatureServe Explorer, an online website about animals, plants, and habitats of the U.S. and Canada. Find information on a species or ecosystem including scientific and common names, conservation status, distribution maps, life history, conservation needs, and images. The Illinois Natural Heritage Database Program contributes to this online encyclopedia of life.
Lists of Resources by County
View or download lists of our data by county:
- Endangered and threatened species
- Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) sites
- Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC) protected lands, including Nature Preserves, Land and Water Reserves, and Natural Heritage Landmarks
List of Resources by Project Area
Information about natural resources in the vicinity of a project area can be extracted from the EcoCAT (Ecological Compliance Assessment Tool) web tool by submitting an "Information Request' or by initiating the Endangered Species Consultation Process there. Results are instantaneous. EcoCAT can be used to discover if known records of endangered or threatened species, Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) Sites, dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves, or registered Land & Water Reserves exist in or near your project area footprint. A report will be generated that lists those sensitive resources. EcoCAT will not provide exact locations for sensitive resources, but it will provide a list of those resources either within or just outside the footprint of the project site that you draw. There is a fee for this service:
- Local Government Consultation Requests - $125 (determining potential adverse effects of proposed actions on state-listed species and sites on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory)
- Information Only Requests - $25
View Protected Lands Data
Visit Prairie State Conservation Coalition's I-View tool to view protected lands in Illinois. Hover over the Layer List icon in the upper right corner and turn on the Illinois Nature Preserves (Nature Preserves & Land and Water Reserves). Simply click on a site to identify the parcel information.
Custom Data Requests
Data are available in a variety of formats, including simple Excel spreadsheets, PDF reports, and GIS shapefiles, in varying degrees of detail, and for areas of all sizes.
Submitting Data Requests
Requests for custom data from the Illinois Natural Heritage Database data must be submitted in writing via mail, email, or fax to:
Heritage Database Program Manager,
Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources - ORC,
One Natural Resources Way,
Springfield, IL 62702
Please include the following information in your request:
- Requestor's contact information (name, company/organization, address, telephone number, and email)
- Desired data and format
- Brief description of the proposed project/activity
- Explanation of how the data will be used and who will have direct access to the data
- Will the data need to be displayed in public documents?
- Geographic area of interest: GIS shapefiles of your project/area are preferred, but we can also accept a combination of location information including county name, topographic quad name, GPS coordinates, township/range/section information, or map). Be sure that your project area is easy for us to locate from the documentation that you send.
Data License Agreement
All custom data requests require a one-year signed Data License Agreement that dictates the conditions for use of the data. Licensing agreements may be renewed on a yearly basis. Distribution of data to third parties, including that from a consultant to client or subcontractor to contractor, is prohibited. All requests for data should come to the Illinois Natural Heritage Database Program.
Data fees are authorized under Illinois Administrative Code to recover the cost of collecting, storing, managing, compiling and providing access to data in Biotics. We provide an exact fee quote upon initial receipt of your request, but here is a guideline of the fees that we charge.
Base Fee – $75 per request
Discounts and Waivers
Fees may be waived or reduced under select circumstances:
- Requests by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC), or the Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB)
- Written agreements with IDNR, INPC, or ESPB in which costs are reimbursed/offset or in which the request furthers their missions
- Requests by college students actively working on a related thesis or dissertation research project.
Payment of Fees
We do not have an electronic payment system. An invoice will be emailed along with the data. No cash or credit card payments will be accepted. Fees must be paid by business, certified, or cashier's check payable to Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Illinois Natural Heritage Database,
IL Dept. of Natural Resources, ORC,
One Natural Resources Way,
Springfield, IL 62702
No fees or portion of fees will be refunded at any time for any reason. Failure to pay the fee within a timely fashion may result in termination, revocation, and/or denial of all present and future data.
Time Frame for Response
Data requests are processed in the order in which they are received. We strive to answer all data requests within 1-2 weeks, although complex data requests and workloads occasionally result in longer response times. Data requests are subject to a Data License Agreement. Providing a GIS shapefile of the area of interest will expedite the request. We strongly encourage you to submit your request during the early stages of a project. We provide a written response to all information requests; therefore, if you have not yet received a response in a timely manner, feel free to follow-up with us. Do not assume that we have no data to report.
Data in the Illinois Natural Heritage Database is updated on a daily to quarterly basis, depending on the dataset. Therefore, requestors are encouraged to get updated data as appropriate based on their project timeline. Spatial data updates are free during the one-year Data Licensing Agreement period. The update must be for the same data as originally covered in the Data Licensing Agreement. Requestors are allowed up to 3 data updates in a calendar year and must request their own updates.
Custom data requests do not satisfy the Illinois Department of Natural Resources consultation requirement under the Illinois Endangered Species Act (530 ILCS 10/11) and the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act (525 ILCS 30/17). For more information on this process, please visit IDNR's Impact Assessment page.