Although the Chicago Wilderness (CW) consortium has long recognized the need for regional ecological monitoring to address the consortium’s goals, it has proven difficult to establish a regional monitoring program. This report builds on a CW workshop in 2005 that identified specific goals for regional monitoring and provides recommendations for monitoring terrestrial ecosystems. As a first step toward developing this plan, an extensive inventory of current monitoring programs in the CW region was undertaken. This inventory demonstrated that although many organizations are conducting ecological monitoring in the region and are willing to share their data, non-random site selection and variation among protocols, in addition to more minor issues, make many of these data sets difficult to combine to gain a regional perspective. After extensive discussions with a wide range of CW member organizations, we recommend that CW: •concentrate on monitoring plant and bird communities because these are widely accepted as good measures of ecosystem health and can be monitored with a reasonable investment. •monitor these communities using the protocols currently being used for CTAP statewide monitoring. •monitor rare plant communities, for which the CTAP protocols cannot be expected to provide data, using qualitative assessments of threats using the Plants of Concern protocols. •encourage expansion of other regional monitoring programs already in place, including Plants of Concern, the Calling Frog Survey, the Bird Conservation Network, and the Butterfly and Dragonfly monitoring networks.•expand resources for data analysis, interpretation, and dissemination.
|Name||INHS Technical Report 2009 (18)|