Chiwaukee Illinois Beach Lake Plain

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Chiwaukee Illinois Beach Lake Plain

  • Country: 
    United States of America
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    1,584 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    42°28'N 87°48'W
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Chiwaukee Illinois Beach Lake Plain, on the south-western shore of Lake Michigan, features the highest quality coastal dune and swale ecosystem in south-east Wisconsin and north-east Illinois. It includes six globally rare and representative wetland types and supports two United States federally-listed Threatened and Endangered species which are associated with wetland communities: the eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea) and the piping plover (Charadrius melodus). It also has the largest known populations of Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), categorized as Endangered by the IUCN Red List and as threatened in the state of Illinois. It also provides the largest near-contiguous block of stopover habitat for migratory birds along the entire Illinois coast and south western Lake Michigan coast in Wisconsin. The main threats to the site include invasive plant species, urban development (including residential and industrial areas, and roadways) and conversion of grasslands and woodlands in the surrounding areas for agriculture.

Administrative region: 
Wisconsin and Illinois

  • National legal designation: 
    • Illinois NP - Spring Bluff Nature Preserve (115.34 hectares) dedicated in October 1992
    • Illinois Nature Preserves - Illinois Beach State Park (335.48 hectares) dedicated October 16, 1964 - first designated nature preserve in Illinois
    • NNL (NPS) - North Dunes Nature Preserve, designated in 1988
    • National NL (NPS) - Illinois Dunes North Natural Area, designated in 1943
    • National Nat Landmark (NPS) - Chiwaukee Prairie (38.04 hectares) designated in 1973
    • National Natural Landmark (National Park Service) - Illinois Beach Nature Preserve (585.18 hectares) designated in 1980
    • Non-statuory: Excellence in Ecological Restoration by Chicago Wilderness - Spring Bluff Nature Preserve, 2013
    • Non-statuory: Wetland Gem by Wisconsin Wetlands Association - Chiwaukee Prairie, 2012
    • Wisconsin State Natural Areas - Chiwaukee State Natural Area (165.92 hectares) designated in 1967
  • Last publication date: 


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