Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Division of Natural Heritage Office Staff

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Office of Resource Conservation

One Natural Resources Way

Springfield, IL  62702

Phone: (217)785-8774

Fax: (217) 785-2438

Administration

Don McFall, Division Chief

  • Don is responsible for the overall direction, management, administration, and development of the Division of Natural Heritage.
  • Phone: (217) 785-8691
  • don.mcfall@illinois.gov

Mike Moomey, Assistant Chief

  • Mike assists with the management of the Division of Natural Heritage programs and field operations including the development and organization of goals and objectives which direct natural heritage resource management activities; provides administrative support to the Division Chief in planning and preparing the annual division operating budget; and issues special use permits for research activities on Department of Natural Resources properties.   
  • Phone: (217) 782-0447
  • mike.moomey@illinois.gov

 

Division Programs

ENDANGERED SPECIES

Joe Kath, Project Manager

  • Joe’s primary responsibilities include the development and implementation of endangered and threatened species management and recovery plans and the issuance of endangered species possession and research permits throughout Illinois.  In addition to facilitating the management and recovery of Illinois’ 450+ listed species, Joe coordinates much of IDNR’s bat-related field studies and has several leadership roles in bat conservation including co-chairman for the Midwest Bat Working Group (MBWG), executive steering committee member for the North American Bat Conservation Partnership (NABCP), and steering committee member of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Monitoring Trends in U.S. Bat Populations project.
  • Phone: (217) 785-8764
  • joe.kath@illinois.gov

INVASIVE SPECIES

Ben Dolbeare, Project Manager

  • Under the general direction of the Chief of the Division of Natural Heritage, and in coordination with the IDNR’s Aquatic and Terrestrial Nuisance Species Task Force and the Illinois Invasive Plant Species Council, Ben serves as a technical specialist in developing, evaluating, and implementing exotic plant species exclusion and control projects for the Office of Resource Conservation.
  • Phone: (217) 785-8688
  • ben.dolbeare@illinois.gov

NATURAL AREAS

The Natural Areas Program is a science based program to identify, manage and preserve areas of the state that contain significant natural resource features and or which have the potential to be significant.  Primarily, identification is through the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) process or gap analysis.  Management activities are prioritized to maintain, restore or recreate significant natural resource features.  Preservation is through coordination with the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission in order to establish long term legal protection.

John Wilker, Program Manager

  • John is the chair of the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee (NAEC), which is responsible for overseeing and updating the INAI and the Standards and Guidelines; reviews scientific research permits; assists in the development of the nature preserve and land and water reserve proposals; coordinates monitoring to ensure appropriate management.
  • Phone: (217) 785-4559
  • john.wilker@illinois.gov

Robert (Bob) Szafoni, Project Manager

  • Bob coordinates site inventory and stewardship activities of professional field-based staff relative to natural areas and endangered and threatened species habitats; performs science based reviews of areas proposed to be added or deleted from the Natural Areas Inventory; assists in the development of natural preserve and land and water reserve proposals; performs a gap analysis for biotic communities and endangered species habitats and performs freshwater mussel surveys as often as possible.
  • Phone: (217) 345-2420
  • robert.szafoni@illinois.gov
  • NOTE: Bob’s work address is IDNR, 1660 W. Polk Avenue, Charleston, IL  61920

NATURAL HERITAGE DATABASE

The Natural Heritage Database Program uses Biotics, powerful Oracle database and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, to track tabular and spatial information about significant natural features in Illinois.  Data tracked includes endangered and threatened species, Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) sites, and lands enrolled in Illinois Nature Preserves Commission protection programs (Nature Preserves, Land and Water Reserves, and Natural Heritage Landmarks as well as high quality natural communities, geological features, large forest blocks, rookeries, etc.

Tara Kieninger, Program Manager

  • Tara is responsible for the direction, management, and development of the Natural Heritage Database Program; assists with administration of the database; responds to requests for information from both within and outside the agency; provides Geographic Information System- (GIS) and database-related technical support to office and field staff; and performs data entry and mapping. 
  • Phone: (217) 782-2685
  • tara.kieninger@illinois.gov

Jeannie Barnes, Database Manager (contractual)

  • Jeannie is responsible for database administration; responds to requests for information from both within and outside the agency; provides Geographic Information System- (GIS) and database-related technical support to office and field staff; and performs data entry, mapping, and quality control.
  •  Phone: (217) 782-2954
  • jeannie.barnes@illinois.gov

 

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