State Reports - Illinois
The Illinois GAP project was formalized in November 1995. Personnel were in place by January 1996. The first year was spent organizing, building working relationships with other agencies, seeking additional funding, performing pilot studies, and vegetation classification.
A general land cover classification for the state was completed in October 1995 as the first step in the state-funded Critical Trends Assessment Project (CTAP) and released in mid-1996. The CTAP classification identified 19 broad land cover classes: four urban, three forest and woodland, three agriculture, two grassland, five wetland, and two "other" categories (water and barren). The GAP vegetation classification will be performed for separate natural cover elements of the original imagery using a boolean mask for specific CTAP classes (forests, forested wetland, and rural grassland). Classification protocols are similar to protocols for UM-GAP (described in Bull. No. 5, p. 35). Classification efforts have been concentrated in the Shawnee National Forest of southern Illinois and are proceeding northward.
Cooperative agreements have been established with the U.S. Forest Service and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to perform ground truth verification of completed 1:100,000 land cover tiles. IDNR district biologists are currently assisting in the collection of vertebrate distribution data for the state. Additionally, teams of field biologists from the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) collected GPS-controlled data for all natural resources (terrestrial and aquatic) as part of the CTAP Long-term Monitoring Project implemented during summer 1997. We have been extensively involved in the sampling design and field protocols for this 5+ year program. Field data collected will be used in the classification and accuracy assessment phase for GAP as well as trend analysis in CTAP.
The IDNR has recently changed the status of many of its public lands, therefore affecting our state lands coverages. Updates to this coverage are nearing completion. The coverage for all local- and county-owned preserves is also near completion. We are, lastly, working on creating an Illinois GAP home page which will soon be accessible via the Internet.