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Natural Areas Evaluation Committee

The Illinois Natural Areas Inventory is a dynamic database that is updated regularly. The Natural Areas Evaluation Committee, or NAEC, is the committee dedicated to maintaining the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory. Triannual meetings of the NAEC are conducted to assess the addition, modification, or removal of an INAI site based on the presence or absence of qualifying features.

Qualifying features can fall into the following categories:

I. High-quality natural communities

II. Specific suitable habitat occupied by endangered and/or threatened species

III. Illinois Nature Preserves, Land & Water Reserves, Natural Heritage Landmarks

IV. Outstanding geologic features

V. (currently unused)

VI. Unusual concentration of flora and/or fauna

Nomination Procedure for INAI Sites

  1. Any person or organization may inform the IDNR's Natural Areas Program of a potential natural area by following the INAI Nomination Checklist and filling out an INAI Nomination and Approval Form.
  2. The Natural Areas Program notifies the Natural Heritage Biologist (NHB) from the district where the site occurs if they are not the nominator.
  3. The NHB determines whether the site warrants evaluation.
  4. If action is warranted the NHB or a person approved by the NHB will evaluate the site. This process will be completed within two years from the time of nomination.
  5. Complete nominations must be approved by the IDNR NHB for the county in which the site is located, in consultation with the INPC Natural Areas Preservation Specialist (NAPS).
  6. The Natural Areas Evaluation Committee will consider all nomination requests with complete documentation and notify the nominator of the action taken.

INAI Standards and Guidelines - Approved Februaury 28th, 2023

Upcoming meetings:

Meeting Nomination Packets Due Date ​Meeting Date

89th Meeting

February 6, 2024

March 19, 2024

90th Meeting

June 11, 2024

July 23, 2024

91st Meeting

October 1, 2024

November 12, 2024

INAI Nomination Forms: